Not so long ago, the Devil was spending time at his favorite vacation resort by the Lake of Fire. He was drinking a special cocktail made from pure grain alcohol and hot sauce. He was enjoying a well-deserved rest after finally coming up with a most hellish strategy for foiling God’s plan to save souls.
From out of a smelly sulfur pit, there emerged one of the Devil’s most loyal devotees. The devotee took a lounge chair next to the Devil and showered him with words of praise.
Devotee: “Gee, souls from Earth are flooding our gates like never before! What devilish scheme did you concoct to pull this off?”
Devil (with a wide smile): “I am simply using God’s own strategy of Love against Him.”
Devotee: “How did you make something as noble as spiritual love the means for populating our conscienceless community?”
Devil: “Remember, I have earned a doctorate in human psychology and learned all their weaknesses. Earth-beings want to feel loved and important, so when they learn that God loves them and wants them to love others more, they simply increase their kind acts towards others.”
The Devil leans over and speaks closer into his devotee’s ear, adding, “But this activity takes their eye off the ball. People find it much easier to act friendly towards others then to mercilessly examine their hearts and minds. Therefore, emphasis on such acts of kindness actually blinds them from the real inner work necessary for their true spiritual growth. “
Devotee: “That is brilliant!”
Devil: “That’s why I make the big bucks around here.”
Devotee: “I only see one challenge to your deliciously nasty scheme. There are new books being spread on Earth, written by Emanuel Swedenborg. He made it perfectly clear that humans should first examine their lives and inner motives before their acts of kindness could be properly purified and become deeply sincere. Now what do we do?”
Devil: “Nothing! When people sincerely look for the dirt in their lives it begins to ‘rain on their party.’ People want what people want. I have studied Swedenborg’s work as well. You will notice that Swedenborg states that God will intensify this unflattering process of self-examination to the point that men and women will actually reach a state of despair. Who on Earth wants that? People would rather envision God as only hugging them.”
The Devil continued, looking smack dab into the eyes of his devotee and revealing a horrible grin, saying, “I am putting my poker chips on people’s spiritual inertia and preference for taking the easy way out by refusing to participate in any process that makes them feel the least bit uncomfortable about themselves. Most people use their religion to anesthetize and calm their inner world. Therefore, in spite of their outer acts of kindness, their inner world stays as it is and remains unchallenged. So let them love and love and love. Such souls who are not brave enough to ‘clean the inside of their cup’ will have their eternal abode with me and my glorious kingdom!”
The Devil and his number one devotee began laughing so hard that they fell out of their lounge chairs!