Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Get Behind Me

It's a well-known fact that Martin Luther once threw an inkwell at the Devil. His adversary was prowling around, looking for someone to devour, and Martin would have none of it.


Some modern people might think him hopelessly superstitious, deluded, perhaps needing therapy. I on the other hand, think he was -- realistic. More and more in my life, and especially as I grow older, I find hidden wisdom in Martin's view on things.


We all have demons to fight, demons that try to keep us from doing the work God has called us to do. Some of us hear the devil hiss in our ears, "what you do does not really matter; you are really quite insignificant." Others hear, "what others think of you is what really counts." Or, "It has to be perfect. You can't make a mistake." Or, "You are justified by what you do, not who you are." Or, "You can't do that! You are (too old, too young, the wrong gender, ethnicity, not smart enough, or talented enough)."


We all have demons to fight, and anyone, even the nicest, most God-fearing person can be the devil, at a certain moment in time. When Peter said to Jesus, "This shall never happen to you, Lord!"(about his crucifixion), Jesus said to his best friend, "Get behind me, Satan!" Sometimes we have to say it, too.


When I was going to college, and people asked me if I would be getting my "Mrs. degree," implying that the only purpose for college for me would be to find a mate, I should have thought to myself, "Get behind me, Satan!" When I told someone I was going to be a pastor in South Dakota, and they said, "Oh, that's too bad," I should have said "Get behind me, Satan!" When people imply that the social justice work of the church is not integral to our congregation, but somehow peripheral and unimportant (and that I am somehow unimportant), I need to say, "Get behind me, Satan!"


We all have persistent demons to fight, as we seek to be faithful to God's call in our lives. And one of the keys to success is recognizing the demons when they appear, both within and without. The other is recognizing that we are first, last, and always, children of God.

9 comments:

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

excellently worded my friend! but what does it mean? (just kidding with a little martin humor there)... rather let it be so!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Diane, this is such an excellent post. I love your enumeration of the demons and have fought with so many of them.

One thing I find helps is to have a few trusted people I can go to and say, "This is the negative message I'm getting in my head. Can you tell me if it's valid?"

Thank you SO much for posting this.

LawAndGospel said...

I really enjoyed this on the eve of CPE, and the ones I would add to the list, that I hear after a year of seminary is, "Don't you have any regrets? ( for leaving a "perfectly good" law career)In addition to really enjoyed, perhaps, really needed to read this.

FranIAm said...

Brava - brilliant post.

Get thee behind me.

It is so true and so wise. Just like Martin.

And like you.

Mrs. M said...

AMEN! I was thinking about this just yesterday, as I was considering the ridiculous guilt I feel about self-care. thank you, thank you, thank you! Unnecessary guilt in general may well be high on my list of demons.

Lindy said...

If I didn't read anything else for the rest of the year this would be enough. Diane, you have spoken a world of truth here. Thank you.

Katherine E. said...

I need to copy this and keep it when one of my demons tells me a lie...

Thank you, Diane.

bernard n. shull said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pastor Eric said...

Good stuff. I wonder how someone would respond if we actually said "Get behind me Satan" to them.