When it comes to communicating with our fellow human beings the words “always” and “never” are not only unhelpful, many times they are the last words we hear before world war three breaks out. For example, “You always do this,” or “You never do that.” These negative phrases beg for a fight. As they say, “them’s fightin’ words!” Why are these words so powerful? I think one reason may be that they are simply not true. These absolute and blanket statements are often used as a way to end an argument, but the exact opposite can occur. Because it would take God to know whether someone always or never does something, we end up in an even bigger argument than if we had chosen some less potentially explosive words.
“Always” and “never” are not bad words when used correctly, but if used in the wrong context, these words can cut off relationships for a time or even a lifetime.
I believe there is a mastermind behind the scenes directing the fights and quarrels. He hides in the shadows; in the darkness, he drops seeds of discord and contention wherever he can. If we are hearing these words “always” and “never” being used in any context other than for God, it could be the enemy at work.
Here are some ways that I’ve seen the enemy operate in the lives of people, including myself: he will condemn us in general terms, using a broad brush, and offer no workable solution to our problem. In addition, he will try to lead us to focus entirely on ourselves, our failures, and his lies (you always fail, you can’t do anything right, things will never get better). He will make things so complicated that we can’t see straight, and chaos will reign.
The “D” in devil
If there’s drama, especially man-made drama, the devil has probably written the script. Now, he just waits for us to play our part. If we are looping on a problem, fighting with others, or swimming in a sea of confusion, you can bet the enemy of our souls is quite satisfied with his work. Convinced that his mission is complete, the devil then walks off the stage to find another set of willing actors in his tragic play.
On the other hand…
On the other hand, God convicts us in specific ways. Showing us the truth, He helps us to focus, not on our problem, but on His power to fix it. We build ourselves up in faith by believing that He is always faithful, He will never lie; God will never leave us, He will always love us, and He will never fail. And I really love this part: the Holy Spirit will clear away the fog of confusion by simplifying the whole thing. God will proceed to bottom-line the issue so that we can find order once again.
Along with showing us our sin, God will then personally lead us all the way to the solution no matter how long it takes. Much like the (good) Walmart employee who won’t just point you in the right direction when you ask for help, but will walk you all the way to the thing you’re looking for, so God, Himself, will always walk with us to the healing that we so desperately need. He will never abandon us. He is always faithful even when we blow it.
May I encourage you today with just a few “always-never” truths from God’s Word?
Jesus is speaking, “…and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28
“…for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22
“Lord, do not withhold Your compassion from me; Your constant love and truth will always guard me.” Ps. 40:11
Jesus is speaking, “…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Let’s always be careful never to use these words negatively toward our fellow human beings, because some words should be reserved for God alone.
Thanks so much for reading!
Shalom, Big D