Today is Halloween, and whether you love it or hate it, the tradition on this day is to draw attention to scary things. While to some it’s distasteful to highlight the macabre, people who enjoy it say it’s all in good fun. But regardless of how you feel about such practices, it’s worth noting that the darkest things in the world rarely have the appearance of such. The devil disguises himself as an angel of light, and his presence — at least in the West — is rarely revealed in the form of witches, ghosts, and demonic manifestations. Instead, Satan tempts and entices us with things that seem harmless, but which open the door to strongholds, addictions, and much more sinister snares. This is certainly true where it comes to idolatry, and whether or not we care to admit it, there’s an ongoing temptation to allow this sneaky vice to creep into our relationships. While it seems innocent to admire the ones we love, if we’re not cautious, such admiration can become idealization, and that can easily give way to a form of worship. This is problematic not only because it takes our eyes off of Jesus, but because it puts too much pressure on the other person. Instead of being an individual with the freedom to make mistakes, elevating someone to the position of idol forces them to meet unrealistic expectations that ultimately entrap them. When this happens, selfless love can’t come to fruition, so the devil gains ground and people get hurt.
My friend, it’s wonderful to respect and admire your spouse, your parents, your children, or your friends, but when that admiration becomes unhealthy, you’re in a danger zone. Jesus is the only One worthy of your worship, because He is the only sinless human being who ever lived. Seeing His best prevail in your relationships means that you must give others the freedom to love as they choose and not hold them to an impossible standard. Stay rooted in the unshakable acceptance of your Savior, and He will empower you to love fiercely, even when people fall off the pedestal of perfection.