“The terrifying thing about evil is that it so often believes that it is righteous.” –Amanda McClendon. Don’t we just live in a horror day, where those who most often wear the royal garb are most often found projecting righteousness from a belly full of evil.
This is nothing new. Jesus encountered the Pharisees and the scribes, those first century do-gooders, who completely missed the plot, who completely missed the mark, and who completely missed their Saviour. These were so busy finding a legalistic structure for every known practice, they completely missed God and the kingdom that God was, is, and will be creating.
Instead of serving the vulnerable they decided to place a burden on their backs.
Instead of granting full access to the courts of the Lord, the Lord set about removing all barriers.
Instead of seeing God in Jesus they saw the power of Beelzebub in him.
Instead of them seeing God at work in a new man in a new way they saw blasphemous treason.
These spirits of evil cloaked in righteousness are at work in our day. And we must be discerning. Just as the Pharisees did, anyone can use God’s name in vain, simply by accusing others of doing that very thing. The difference is the spirit of control that subverts every empowerment of humanity to bring the Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, by God’s power—for God’s glory—for the notion of a sovereignty from this world. This spirit of control is nasty; it feels nasty, it tastes nasty, it sounds nasty—it is nasty.
Darkness tries to hide itself in light, and it denies it most vehemently.
It puts itself forth as the hope of the world, deceiving many comers and would be faith-doers, as it sets out an agenda, in a word, to ‘lobby’ over a chosen, select set of ethical issues, ignoring other ethical issues that would be just as important to God, and doing so abusively.
This darkness thinks nothing of using its privilege with which to gain leverage and advantage. It cries foul when ordinary people cry foul about what the privileged set are trying to get away with. It hides behind a ‘freedom of speech’ argument, lobbying to win the masses, and yet the masses are far smarter than the lobbyists have imagined. The masses can smell something’s off from a long way off.
The world, thank God, has moved on in many ways, and there is a compassion sweeping the globe, to God’s glory and praise. Finally, there is some hope that those that have been oppressed will get their day in court. Finally, it is the religious elite with the case to answer.
Think for a moment, the phrase ‘religious elite’ is an abhorrent oxymoron.
It should never be. And yet this is precisely how evil has always deceived us. It cloaks itself as righteousness, trusting always in the ideal that it will fool the common believer. See how spiritually barbaric privilege is? See how arrogant it is that it believes it can pull the wool over our eyes? It is even a more pervasive evil that believes it is doing the right thing when the vulnerable are being crushed under foot without a care in the world from them, when they seem to be the cause.
Jesus never hid himself in privilege, and always chose to model the servant’s role. If Jesus criticised only those replete with privilege, and always advised the taking of the humblest seat, and said that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted, we can know all by their fruit.
The one you can trust is the one not trying to manipulate you for any reason. They don’t have something to gain from you. They are there to gain nothing from you and to give you something you cannot lose. These are there to bless you if you will be blessed. Their love is compelling, because it is trustworthy.
POSTSCRIPT: there are people who will read this and see that my views are the views of evil cloaked in righteousness, or even that my views are misguided. All I can say is I feel it’s the Holy Spirit’s conviction to write what I’ve written. The fact is, our views may be more similar than what we think. I just think the way we deploy our passions is important. We cannot honour God and abuse people (or people groups) at the same time. We cannot deliver God’s message and hurt God’s message at the same time, and worse, by believing we’re doing a good thing. And yet I recognise that there are people who may see I’ve done this here. God have mercy.