One of my mentees just went through a really tough patch. His dad, who was a pretty evil dude, died unexpectedly. Through the last years of his life, he watched his son become a Jesus-follower and grow into the husband and father he never was. The guilt was enormous. So much that he continually tried to undermine his own son’s faith and marriage . . . to bring him down to his own level. My mentee tried desperately to help his dad find Christ but that made his father even more angry. Eventually, his dad cut off all communication and died alone in a nursing home. But I’m so proud of my mentee. He handled the situation about as well as anyone could. Recently, he shared this dialogue from C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce:
“The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that hell should be able to veto heaven.”
“I don’t know what I want, sir.”
“Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else forever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves. I know it has a grand sound to say ye’ll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But watch that sophistry or ye’ll make a dog in a manger the tyrant of the universe.”
Blackmail is “If you don’t _______ then I will _______.” When someone blackmails, they threaten something unless a demand is met. They play on the fear of the victim to get what they want. Threatened, the victim gives in and gives up, losing what’s rightfully theirs out of fear of what the blackmailer might do.
Isn’t that what terrorism is? Terrorists say, “Do what we tell you or believe like we believe and we’ll let you go.” Aren’t there people you know who are unknowingly “blackmailers?” They will only be happy on their own terms (which are never met). They want us to see the world as they do and if we don’t, they’ll stay in a snit, constantly sucking us into their blackmail game. Isn’t that what the evil one does to us? He says, “Give up this ‘pipe-dream’ about Jesus and God and heaven and I’ll give you ‘guilt-free living.’ You can do what you want!”
Jesus-follower, stand up! Blackmail only works when we’re afraid. Choose to trust Him fully. Choose the “joy of the Lord” over the anxiety of fear and confusion. To hell with what the devil says and, to a degree, what other people say. Here’s what I sensed God saying to me the other day (from my journal) . . .
“I’ve been faithful to you. I’ve never left you. I’ve blessed you beyond measure. I’ve done My part. Go all-in and don’t give in to the ‘blackmail’ of anyone . . . and especially the evil one.”
Now go live, love and make a difference this week . . . in Jesus’ name and for His glory!
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