The enemy doesn’t get to win

The enemy doesn’t get to win.

That is a formidable statement in any context.

Can you just hear a commander of a vast army pumping up his soldiers with that creed, “Today, the enemy doesn’t get to win.” [Insert every Mel Gibson movie ever.]

We get inspired by those moments. Uniting to face a common foe. Standing for something – standing against something.

I’m one of those people who believe in Light and Dark. I believe in Good and Evil. I also believe that both live inside me. When there is a battle, there is an enemy – and you better believe, I plan to win.

The enemy I believe we are best positioned to fight against is the evil inside each of our hearts.

You know the old cartoons of the little angel and devil on each shoulder fighting for attention? That actually happens in my heart. Does it happen in yours? Honest moment: when watching those cartoons I almost always root for the little devil. He always looks like he is having more fun and the little angel is a puny pushover . . .

But, in my real life – in my life that isn’t a cartoon – what’s different?

Nothing.

That’s the problem. I tolerate the banter between good and evil in my heart. The proverbial little angel and the little devil, both with a voice, both in places of honor . . . and, to be honest, more often than I would like to admit, the little devil wins the argument:

It’s in the moments fear leads to anger.
It’s in the moments loneliness leads to bitterness.
It’s when I parade my blatant selfishness as self-care or self-preservation.
It’s when I believe love is too risky.
It’s when I believe love is a balance.
And, it’s when I believe Good will lose – and then I act like it already has.

I realized something at 3:30 this morning that I think changes the game: This enemy can’t win if it doesn’t have a voice.

The only way for evil to win in my heart is if I let it.

I often allow evil masked as my “natural reaction” to be permitted in my heart. That’s how it gets a voice.

I look at the horrible things about our world like suffering and slavery and poverty, and I easily shout the battle cry: The enemy doesn’t get to win! Evil just shouldn’t get to win in the world around me, and I think we would all unite to that aim.

So, why do I let it win in my heart?

This is why: The only way for the enemy to lose is for part of me to lose.

I have to surrender control.

I have to give up the part of me that tolerates the natural response. It’s natural to fear rejection or betrayal. It’s natural to give with expectation of return. It’s natural to offer grace at a price. It’s natural to give up and to walk away when things are messy and hard. It’s natural to love conditionally.

I don’t want that natural life. I want something more. I can’t get there on my own.

So, I choose the Light. I choose the God who made the Sun. I follow the Jesus who gave everything, so that all my struggle would end in Good.

Today, I will look to my Jesus and say, “Make me like you.”

You did not fear rejection or betrayal. You embraced and forgave it.
You are the giver of grace and ask nothing but relationship in return.
You walk with me through whatever may come with the perspective that something better is coming.
Teach me to choose Love. Love that is risky and unbalanced and powerful.

Today, in my heart, the enemy doesn’t get to win.

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