My little brother, Dalton, has been known to occasionally sneak handfuls of Tootsie Rolls and Milky Ways from our candy drawer, with the help of his partner-in-crime, my little sister Abigail. And Dalton, like all other kids, has resorted to biting or hitting a few times out of frustration or anger.In the past, when Dalton did something wrong, he would go to "time-out" and sit on his bed. Now, "time-outs" are supposed to make kids think of what they did wrong, however, this is not the case. Timeouts are for sitting on your bed and scratching the itch you were too lazy to scratch a second ago. Timeouts give you plenty of extra and useful time to make up a song – and sing it at the top of your lungs, in the pillow, of course – or count to 300,002, your new record. Timeouts are just wonderful moments that you can do things you never thought you could do! In fact, when a kid is in time out, the only thing he DOESN’T think about is why he’s there in the first place! When you send a kid into timeout, you’re only giving them a chance to scheme up a new plan!Anyway, back to my brother. When the timeout was over, my dad would go into his room and ask him why he was in time out in the first place. (Now, when I was little, and Dad asked me this, I just stared at him and blurted out whatever came to mind first, whether it was, "I squashed a beetle with my toe" or "I like cheese".)Dalton would always explain to my dad that he was so very sorry, but that, "the devil made me do it".
Wait a second. Satan MADE Dalton disobey my parents? Really?
No, not really. Yes, Satan wants us to disobey. Satan wants us to steal, to lie, to cheat, to be rude, to hurt others physically, to hurt others emotionally, to tie a string of tin cans to a stray dog, to tease a kid with braces. Satan wants us to do all these things, but did he make us do them, no?Now, don’t think I’m saying Satan can’t do anything. Satan has power, but only a little bit, and his power could be zapped at any moment. Satan’s power comes from God, because God wanted to give people a choice – would they follow the One who loves them, or would they follow the one who hates them?Satan has the power to manipulate our minds. Satan can put ideas into our heads, but he does it so cleverly that we think that the ideas came from us, not from Satan (because he knows that if we knew it was Satan who put those ideas in our head, we would spit them back out pronto). Some of the ideas Satan gives us are ones of revenge, to hold a grudge, or to steal that DVD that you’ve been wanting so badly, and nobody would see you, right? And that music download – no one would a buck, right? So they wouldn’t mind if I just took some of their songs, right? It’s not really stealing, they have plenty of money, right? Satan makes us think that we are right. He makes us think that the ideas – his ideas – are ok, because so-and-so had it coming, or because Jimmy hit you, and this temptation would be a good, just way of getting back at him. Or would it?Now, Satan doesn’t shove his ideas down our throats. Satan simply can’t. Satan offers these ideas to us, but, the more we accept his ideas, the harder it is to say no. You have a choice. God gave you a choice. You can choose to give in to Satan’s plan, or you can stand up for what’s right. What’ll it be?