I was ten years old the first time I ever heard God speak to me personally. The new school year had just begun, and a new fad spread among my classmates, cussing.
I was raised in a conservative Christian home. At church, Sunday school teachers taught the Ten Commandments. They were vague about adultery so I wasn’t too concerned. They weren’t clear about coveting either, so I felt kind of safe.
They made up for their ambiguity when it came to cussing. Instead of an elusive, “Don’t take the name of the Lord in vain;” they precisely taught, “Don’t swear.” And that meant, “Don’t cuss.”
Cussing was a sin on the order of mass genocide.
One day, while playing schoolyard tag, I tagged my girlfriend Diane, and she shouted, “Shit!” I felt a horrific shock as though hit in the gut with a sledgehammer. Forty-five years later, I still feel that visceral punch and I can exactly picture the playground corner where Diane cussed.
Looking back it seems silly that a cuss could cause such a shock, but it did. I expected God to throw down a lightning bolt and burn her to an ash. The thought almost paralyzed me.
But not quite. I leaped backwards in case the bolt went wide.
I love having a new laptop but I hate getting a new laptop. It takes me a couple days to transfer my old data, reinstall the applications, and setup my preferences. It’s a hassle.
Three weeks ago I bought a new laptop. Over the next several days I transferred data, installed the apps, and set it up the way I like it. It was a pain.
Ten days ago, I began work on this Spiritual Warfare article. A day later my new laptop crashed. Argh!!!! I tried to breathe life into it and failed. So I wiped the computer clean, reinstalled the operating system, and started all over again. It was a major pain.
I shared my story with a friend. He thought that my laptop crash was probably due to spiritual warfare, and that I should pray against spirits that affect technology.
Recently, a group of friends and I were faced with a decision that would significantly affect each of us. I met with two of my friends to discuss the issue. One of us thought we should do it, one thought we shouldn’t do it, and one thought that great pain would come either way, if we did it or if we didn’t.
While the three of us disagreed on what should happen, we realized that we shared three things: each of us felt we knew what should happen; each of us felt strongly we knew what should happen; and each of us felt a bit of anxiety that the “right” decision might not happen. Even the friend who didn’t know what should happen knew either decision would be harmful, he felt strongly either decision would be harmful; and he was a bit anxious that one or the other decision would happen.
We realized our minds had begun to be engrossed with the most persuasive words to express our opinion, and we began to fixate on whom to talk with about what steps needed to take place. And our thought life had become consumed by the decision. We were preoccupied with what the future would like look if the decision was made or what it would look like if it wasn’t made.