Even Michael, the chief angel, didn’t dare to insult the devil, when the two of them were arguing about the body of Moses. All Michael said was, “The Lord will punish you!” Jude 1:9 (CEV)

Mark Twain once said, “Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

I have to admit I have been reminded of that phrase often…more often, perhaps, than I should admit. At times I’ve refrained from responding to the various barbs thrown my way, all too often, I give in and get drug down into a stupid argument I can’t hope to win and which, in reality isn’t worth the fight.

Tucked away in the little book of Jude is the story of an interesting battle between Michael the Archangel and Satan himself. The dispute was over the final resting place of Moses. Some conjecture that Satan was about to reveal that spot to the Israelites so that they would turn their allegiance to the grave of a dead man and away from the living God.

Whether that is true or not, one thing is certain. Michael took the high road in the argument. The two participants in the discussion represented the two extremes in the angelic world. Satan (the devil) was at one time, God’s right hand man. He was beautiful, powerful and highly esteemed. When pride got the best of him, he rebelled against God, was cast from heaven and became angelic enemy #1.

Michael may have been Satan’s replacement. He was stunning, powerful and faithful to the His creator.

Michael had every right the day of the big argument to accuse Satan harshly, but he didn’t. He realized something each of us should remember. Michael knew who Satan was. He was most likely in the wings when the great heavenly battle took place and Satan was ousted. He remembered the grace, the majesty and power Satan possessed. He remembered that even though Satan was devious, evil and dangerous, he was also God’s creation. Based on that fact alone, he did not accuse or verbally attack his aggressor.

What a stunning lesson for each of us to learn! Like the angels (good and evil ones) we are all creations of a loving, forgiving, merciful God. Our spiritual DNA matches, our actions don’t. Our actions however don’t make us more or less of God’s creation.

As Christ-followers we need to allow God’s Spirit to work through us in such a way that we take the high road when we are attacked. We can argue our point. We can present all of our evidence. But in the end, the important thing isn’t that we win the argument but that we show God’s grace. Life isn’t about winning battles, it’s about winning disciples.

Rather than stoop to the level of Satan, Michael chose to hand him over to the one who never loses. Should we not do the same? Paul, in his letter to Timothy, urges the young pastor to pray for, not argue with, his accusers. In other words, take the high road.

PRAYER: Father God, it’s so easy to get into senseless arguments and become critical of those who oppose me. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to take the high road and let you fight the battle. Amen.

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