"The forces of darkness are the forces that split, divide and set in opposition. The forces of light unite. Literally, the word 'diabolic' means dividing. The demon divides; the Spirit unites."
I was telling a friend about this over lunch one day this week, someone who is also a lover of words. We sat in the front window of a cafe, overlooking the main street of a town decorated for Christmas, and I pulled out my e-reader to look up the gospel of John, chapter 17, verses 20-23 , the prayer of Jesus, which suddenly hit me as the antithesis of "diabolic" in the way it focuses on "being one."
Yesterday, curious to learn more, I looked up the word "diabolic" for myself and found this, under the heading "etymology of devil."
Origin of devil
The word devil comes from the Latin diabolus (devil)...from the verb diaballo (to insinuate things (against sb), put in a bad light, slander, calumniate...
Isn't this fascinating, when thinking of the devil's first mention, in the book of Genesis, chapter 3? The definition of his name is personified by the record of this creature's words, which cast doubt and insinuated bad intent from the start.
Another of his titles is Father of Lies. His agenda seems often to make use of words to divide, accuse and cause disunity. Yet Jesus is The Word, and his name is Faithful and True.
This is why one of the seven things that are detestable to God, listed in Proverbs 6:16-19, is "a person who stirs up conflict in the community."
Being reminded of the great gift that words are, and how seriously God takes the way in which they are used, sensitizes me in a good way to guard my heart first and foremost; because it is where our words flow from; and then my words.
Years ago I memorized some really good verses from Ephesians. They came to mind again as I thought about all of this. I know I benefit from remembering them, may it be so for others: