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"Our job is forgiveness - not because it lets the offender "off the hook" - but because it protects us from letting Satan get his nose under our tent - and from eventually consuming us."

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This article taken from Banner of Love

by Don R. Richards

August 2003
Volume 71
Number 8

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Satan's Nose

Don R. Richards

There is an old familiar cliche about not allowing "the camel to get his nose under the tent." The same warning about Satan applies to each of us.
The old story is about the desert traveler by camel who stopped for the night. He set up his small tent to provide himself shelter from the cold desert night. As it got dark, the man's camel, who was left outside in the cold, asked his master if he could "just put his nose into the tent" to allow only his nose to get warm. The man agreed and went to sleep with just the camel's nose under the tent.

As the story goes, during the night the night the camel slowly moved more and more of himself into the tent until such time as the camel occupied the entire tent, and the man was shoved outside into the cold air. Thus the moral of the story is never allow a bad concept to even get a small foothold because it will soon consume you.
It is a good story, and has great implication in our lives. The idea is set out in chapter 4 of the New Testament book of Ephesians.

"Ephesians 4:25-27"

Basically, the Apostle Paul warns us against sinful acts and communications with our family, friends and neighbors, because when we engage in such behavior, we give the devil a foothold in our lives. Thus, "Satan gets his nose under our tent."
The Apostle Paul encourages us to shun speaking falsehoods and tell only the truth to our fellow men. Then Paul adds:

"Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil."

The Apostle Paul continues with the next few verses with excellent advice urging spiritual living, and counseling against such things as stealing, corrupt communications, personal bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour and evil speaking.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32


Do you have anyone you are mad at? The reason for your anger or bitterness is not important; the issue is whether you have allowed yourself to be angry or bitter. Is there anyone about whom you have helped to spread gossip and rumors? Is there anyone whom you have not forgiven? If not, then you are totally different from me. When we go to bed angry, we are giving place to the devil. Satan is getting his nose under the tent, and if we are not careful, Satan will make sure our anger or bitterness consumes us.

Do you remember the Old Testament story of Job? Read the first two chapters of the Book of Job. Satan goes to the Lord and asks the Lord to lower the protective hedge around Job. The Lord does so, and Satan attacks all of Job's worldly and material possessions. Read Job's response. In spite of all his "bad luck", Job remains faithful to the Lord. Do you suppose that made Satan happy? No!

Satan tries again directly against Job's person, making Job about as physically sick as a person can get. Again Job remained faithful to the Lord is eventually rewarded far beyond his original wealth.

What if Job had given in to bitterness and hate? Who would have been most happy - Satan of course.

If I remain bitter at a colleague, or if I go to bed angry with my spouse, who am i helping - the Lord?, myself, my spouse? No, I am pleasing Satan, to whom I have just given a foothold in my life. I've just given Satan the oppportunity to enter my life and play on my bitterness and anger. Satan will give me every reason and justification to increase my anger and bitterness.

Everyday there is someone or something which will give you problems. Everyday Satan will tempt you to pay vengeance to those who give you those problems. Satan will tempt us with the list of his best tools outlined at Galatians 5:19-22; and in the seven deadly sins referenced at Proverbs 6:16-19.

If we give way to Satan's tools, then we have allowed Satan's nose into our tent and he will soon consume us.

If someone has trespassed on us, we know to whom anger, bitterness and vengeance for such acts belongs - not to us, but to the Lord. Romans 12:17-21. Go back and read Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:14-15 and 19:21-22.

Our job is forgiveness - not because it lets the offender "off the hook" - but because it protects us from letting Satan get his nose under our tent - and from eventually consuming us.