We’ve all heard the phrase “Made a deal with the devil.” Perhaps some of us think nothing of it, but it gives me the creeps. Who the heck would do that? Even if we claim the devil is not real, the expression still means to sell your soul to, or at least make a contract with, evil. And who would do that?
Lots of people. Have you ever excused doing something you knew was wrong? Maybe by saying “My parents did it?” Or “Well, that’s just the way I am.” Or have you ever called a lie “necessary” or “harmless.” Have you ever compromised your morals to keep something a secret, or given in to peer pressure?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, these can all be different forms of dealing with evil. And by evil, I mean anything that is wrong, directly harms others or yourself, and is destructive to health, happiness, or emotional security.
Having these kinds of deals always involves shame. We fear other people finding out that we do it. The most common example would be drug use or alcoholism, people give in to it out of fear or emotional problems, and then they have even more fear and issues because they have to hide it or act like it doesn’t bother them. They have to pay the piper a high price to numb their pain. The price includes relationships, health, jobs, freedom, ability to reason, and the list goes on.
Another way, by far the most common, is to make a deal with fear that requires you to do things you know are wrong to stay safe. Fear always threatens to expose you for a coward, so often we have to do even more things to cover it up. Like being dishonest and saying it’s the way of the world, and you have to be that way to survive. Or being unfair for the same reasons. But at bottom, we’re afraid, and we’re afraid of our fear being exposed. They say that’s why bullies are mean and tough on the outside, but inside they are often immature and insecure themselves.
We also make deals with mediocrity. We put forth only so much effort, because it’s not really worth it. As long as we meet the minimum requirement, mediocrity lets us live comfortably, but it never betters our circumstances or lets us escape our cage. We are left alone, left to ourselves. Again, people are afraid; so they think as long as they aren’t targeted by the bad guys, it’s okay. But sooner or later they realize they missed out on true greatness. One might even ask if mediocrity was not just as evil as the other examples, because it deprives the world of more and more greatness. And the people around you as well.
There are more deals, but I hope you’re getting my point enough to leave it at these examples. Now, there is hope. Another word for deals could be allegiance and having an allegiance to evil is fatal. To really live, you must break it. Verbally even, or on paper, or perhaps all it will take is a deep decision within you. I don’t recommend trying to do this without God’s help, because these deals are usually ingrained in us by the time we realize their presence. But break the deal. It’s up to you to decide what it making the deal too costly to stick to. Like Lando in Star Wars: The Empire strikes back. Who has to decide at what point protecting his people from the Empire is less important than doing what he knows is right. So, when have you had enough? Enough of the guilt, the fear, the misery. (I trust all my readers know that I’m only referring to people who know they have bad deals in their lives.) If you’ve had enough, then end the charade, prolonging it will only make it worse. Then choose a new allegiance, to good.
“Submit to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7