the devil is in the details

Tim Gombis, a professor and blogger (and writer)  on his blog, Faith Improvised, has been doing some posts related to why we, even as Christians (and perhaps especially so, though we have another dynamic on our side as well which is much greater) find community not only difficult to navigate, but also to maintain. Entitled, “The Demonic in the Mundane,” part one and two.

I am startled at how quickly and easily friends and even followers of Jesus can turn on each other. And I am increasingly convinced that the devil is in the details of this. Tim Gombis’ thoughts on this stirred my thinking. And simply living in a high pressure situation in which I saw this in play, brought it home to me all the more.

Part of Tim’s point is that in the ordinary, mundane, day to day, down to earth matters, there can easily be flare ups seemingly out of nowhere, which can wreak havoc on what before had seemed to be a settled peace.

What we need to understand is that the devil and the demonic are active in the church and in the community of those who are followers of Jesus, to bring disunity, and thus to hamper, and even ruin our witness to the world. This makes it all the harder to establish, nurture and grow good relationships with each other.

Our unity is in Christ by the Spirit. It is a unity that we are told we’re to make every effort to keep. And so there must be ongoing forgiveness within any body of believers, in any local church.

Again, as is so often the case, the prayer the Lord taught his followers to pray is helpful in this, and in life both generally and in its details:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.