The tone of the tall grass merges with the dirty yellow of his mane. No movement, no sound. None are aware of his presence. He observes. A moment of weakness rises as one prey lets his guard down. Predator edges closer. No cracking of dry grass beneath his feet warns imminent danger lurks. The prey, oblivious to his surroundings, is hit as predator leaps to attack. He never saw it coming.
I relate to the prey, often unaware that a beast hides in the shadows. He detects, more than I, my vulnerability and my doubt. He waits for it, then feeds on it.
In truth, I let him. Unaware still, that it is his, not my own thoughts, that have clamped on tight to my soul.
Deceit is my beast, guilt is his poison and once penetration takes place, it’s an epic battle to rid my soul of it’s effects.
Subtle, almost justifiable, distortion of the truth. If it were an arrow, or a flame or a gun, I would see the obvious danger. But the enemy I face does not work in transparency. That is why he is called the master of deception. He lays guilt where none should be.
Guilt has healthy value except when it doesn’t and distinguishing between appropriate and not is daunting and the latter is what often deflates my faith.
It’s the situations beyond our control that somehow the enemy convinces us “if only I had…”
We carry guilt for other peoples choices and God never intended it to be that way. Having a burden for another and carrying guilt because you can’t see your impact in their life are two different things.
“If only I had, said more, forgiven more, prayed more, did more.” Or better yet, “if only I hadn’t, said that, done that, been that.”
We take on another person’s circumstances as if they didn’t have a choice in the matter. The reality is we are limited and broken individuals trying to be used to impact other limited and broken people and only God is capable of being all that another human needs. So let yourself off the hook. You aren’t God.
We all have kids, spouses, parents, and friends that we want to impact and save from the agony of their own destructive choices. We want our words to be heard, our actions toward them to have purpose, our love for them to be enough to draw them in. But sometimes it just isn’t. In those moments that we let down our guard and believe that we are responsible for their decisions is the moment that the enemy, who has been waiting for our discouragement, sinks his teeth into our soul and poisons us with “if only” lies.
DON’T believe them! Instead, believe that God’s love for them is fuller and richer than any of our measly vessels can hold. Release them into the hands of the One to whom they belong and free yourself of the guilt that has resided so deep within your soul.
1 Peter 5: 8-9 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 a Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.