Prison Break

His righteous anger at the one who hurts you is an invitation for you to resolve your anger issue with Him.

prison break.jpg

 

Acts 23:6 When Paul realized that one part of them were Sadducee(s) and the other part were Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees! I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead! ”

 

Have you ever seen Prison Break? This seasonal drama depicts a number of characters always weaved into a plot with the same climax; breaking out. Never have I seen a show that includes more use of this ancient battle strategy: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  In fact, it’s easy to get lost in the quick formation of alliances between characters who were enemies in the previous episode. Why? To break out.

Sometimes we should employ the same technique.

This passage reveals Paul’s sharp wisdom.  About to face persecution, he realizes he’s in a room with not just one enemy, but two.  The Pharisees are vitriolic because Paul preached Jesus as Messiah.  The Sadducees because Paul preached Jesus as resurrected.  Paul plays on their difference with this ancient wisdom: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  Though the extent of truth in that shrewdness varies, it was certainly true that while the Sadducees were hostile to Paul’s resurrection theology, the Pharisees were hostile to their hostility.  In verse 6, he employs his tactic:  “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees! I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!”  He stirs it up between these two sects shifting attention from himself and as the fight ensues, the Romans “rescue him.” (vs. 10)

When we find ourselves trapped in the spiritual prison of our own making, we should remember how Paul handled his captivity here.  We may be in that room with more than one enemy, also.

God and the Devil.

I know.  You’re thinking, “It can’t be.”  But James 4:4 warns clearly he who befriends the world makes himself an enemy of God. Ouch. I’m sure glad it never works the other way around. God never makes himself our enemy, but we can sure make Him ours. Our desires and decisions often put us an enmity with God and when we put ourselves at odds with Him, we willfully and ignorantly tag ourselves, “enemy.”  Peace escapes. Joy’s absent. Blessing is gone. We’re trapped.

Enter stage left, the other enemy.

It’s a pretty common theatre, actually.  People who confess Christ but conform to the world are in no short supply.  This culturally acceptable and sometimes subtle idolatrous betrayal turns our greatest ally into our enemy, instead.  And when the other one comes in, he’s free to wreak havoc.  You have two enemies in the room and the options seem bleak.

I’ve met countless people in the middle of that mess when the marriage is falling apart, when the job is lost, when addiction takes captive.  A common response is

“God’s angry with me.”

Well, maybe. But the devil hates you.

Others say, “I’m angry at God.”

Okay. Be angrier at the devil.

It’s time to employ Paul’s wisdom. The enemy of your enemy is your friend.  When you’re in that pinch and you feel you have no friend in the room, just ask this question: “How does God feel about the enemy of my soul and his plan to steal, kill and destroy everything good in my life?”

His righteous anger at the one who hurts you is an invitation for you to resolve your anger issue with Him.

You may have made God an enemy, but it doesn’t change His nature. His nature is to defend, protect, and conquer.   It’s to bless, embrace, and encourage. He’s a rescuer and a restorer and His heart is to make all things new and all things right.  He wants to be your friend.

He is the greatest enemy of your enemy and you can’t afford to be His opponent. He’s your prison break.

So conform not to this world and neither befriend it (James 4:4), but hate it like it hates you (Jn 15:18-19) and be transformed instead by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).  Then you’ll know His will for you. It is good, pleasing and perfect.

One thought on “Prison Break

  1. Well, after reading that we have two enemies, God and the devil, I almost hit the delete button, but I know the author of his post and I know how he views our Lord. So I kept reading and I’m glad I did. The devil is hard at work, not only on non-believers, (he’s had victory there), but especially on believers. He knows his end, and he knows that God knows his end. Must be hard for satan to come to grips with his time limits and finality. I’ve often heard that the enemy of the shark is the dolphin. The enemy of the devil is our Lord. I’m happy to report that the enemy of my enemy is my Friend. I remember the old song: “What a friend we have in Jesus.” What a friend indeed.

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