SLIPPERY SLOPE ARGUMENTS:
A “slippery slope” argument goes like this: “If you take position A, you run the risk of taking position B; position B is wrong, therefore A is also wrong.”
Politics, national organizations, the media all use the technique to often promote FEAR to the listeners, our thinking. BUT the reason for this POST is…not to debate the idea or to promote FEAR in the readers, but to bring a FOCUS; to CAUTION–maybe even make you feel uncomfortable in what I see as complacency in society and even in the Church today.
THE SLOPE OF DISOBEDIENCE (Matthew 8:28-34)–
Once we take that FIRST STEP towards DISOBEDIENCE, the next step we take becomes much easier.
It was 1956, I was a 14 year old, a non-rebellious 9th Grader in Junior High School. Being a REBEL and disappointing my folks was so far away from who I was… the idea of going against the ‘grain of discipline’, definitely wasn’t who I was–or who I thought I was.
One day, while walking to school as I always did, I knock on a buddy’s door to join me– and to my surprise, Steve decided he wasn’t going to school that day. No, he wasn’t sick. Steve decided, since his parents were at work (no one would know), he was going to “ditch” school.
“Do you want to “ditch” too” Steve asked me. I thought, how are we going to get away this rebellious act? I even showed my concern:
“How are we going to keep from being caught? “ I asked.
“Don’t worry, Mel. I’m good at forging my mom’s signature on an excuse slip. We can do the same thing for you if you want.”
So the lies began. Not just once but this went on and off for several months– thrilled because we hadn’t been caught in our lies, our deceit. We were certainly contented in our disobedience.
And then the day of reckoning came! We actually got caught by Truant Officers while ditching school…at my house and not Steve’s hideaway. The math had discovered to many consequences; both 9th graders absent at the same time too many times.
The school contacted our parents at their workplace [my folks waited for me to tell them that night rather than confronting me with the discovery and repercussions].
And then the school pulled us out of first period class the next morning to inform us of the consequences of our actions. I remember the VP asking the three of us, what did you do all day?
“We sat at the kitchen table and played poker” we sheepishly answered.
His response at the time seemed quite surprising to the three of us (we had coerced one other student to join in the rebellion), seeing how much trouble we were all in:
“If it had been me ‘ditching’ school, I would have gone fishing, not wasted the whole day hiding in someone’s house”.
That was the “DUH” moment which added stupidity to the embarrassment.
DISOBEDIENCE is always a choice, no matter what age. And of course, this was no exception. My parents were of course disappointed and to my pleasant surprise, the only form of punishment needed for me personally was the following statement and it certainly brought home the point:
“You’ve never done anything like this before and I hope you’ve learned a lesson”.
We weren’t TOTALLY off the hook–
One hour of detention in the Vice Principal’s Office, every day for two weeks certainly became a everyday embarrassment when we were excused early from our 1st Period Class to walk down the empty school halls to pay the price of rebellion.
The “slippery slope” began with the idea that just “one time” would be okay–with the addition of our peers cheering silently that we had challenged the system; our own narrow society. And when discovered, the thrill was over and it all went down hill after that.
THE SLOPE IS STARTED (Verse 28):
“And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road.”
The SLOPE starts at the place where JESUS met these men, in Gadera. It’s located on the east side of the Jordan River, given to the tribe of Gad (Numbers 32:1-2, 6).
The people of Gad didn’t want to cross the Jordan and were contented to stay right were they were.
Then in reading Numbers 32:13-15, we see the Lord became angry with the people. There was work to be done, battles to be fought and the promise of the Lord to be fulfilled. Yet, the people would have been content to stay right where they were. Well fed, well clothed, one big happy group of people. There was no need to get involved–they would allow others to fight their battles.
Sin Starts With Contentment–
CONTENTMENT that enough has already been done. The Lord declared if they wouldn’t be willing and come across the river and fight, they wouldn’t receive their possession in the east. They would have to come across and fight with the rest of the tribes to receive the land they wanted.
There is no place in the Army of God for contentment. There isn’t such a thing as “We’ve finally arrived!” And yet, the forefathers of these two demon possessed men had to be coerced into following the Lord’s commands.
Sin enters the camp a little bit at a time. Not all at once. The logic of the Gadites was simple: we are cattlemen, there is grass and water here. We need to stay here and get started with our lives.
But the logic fell short of the Lord’s desire for the nation as a whole. There was a PROMISE LAND, a place of belonging, not only for those who chose to stay but also for all God’s people. They were in the conquest together, and together they would have to fight.
THE SLOPE GETS STEEPER (verses 29-31):
“ And behold, they shrieked and screamed, What have You to do with us, Jesus, Son of God? Have You come to torment us before the appointed time?  Now at some distance from there a drove of many hogs was grazing.  And the demons begged Him, If You drive us out, send us into the drove of hogs.”
NOTICE that the people of Gadera were “pig farmers”. They abandoned the cattle and sheep business and were now into the pig business.
Pigs were unclean. Good Jewish families didn’t have pigs. I believe that the attitudes of the forefathers were still present during the days of Jesus.
SIN crept into the attitudes and began to ‘chip away’ at the morality of the people. It’s no wonder that there were demon-possessed men living in tombs, chasing away everyone who came near. The people had allowed sin to become so entrenched in their society that such possession had become possible.
The devil isn’t satisfied with influencing the occasional outburst of sin. He wants to control the lives of as many people as he can.
These men were the physical embodiment of evil.
They didn’t start out that way. They didn’t wake up one morning and decided to become possessed. But it began to take more and more disobedience; more of ignoring of what was around them to get the same thrill they once received. Soon, they had immersed themselves in Godless behavior and Godless they became.
THE SLOPE SWEPT THEM AWAY (verses 32-34):
”  And He said to them, Begone! So they came out and went into the hogs, and behold, the whole drove rushed down the steep bank into the sea and died in the water.  The herdsmen fled and went into the town and reported everything, including what had happened to the men under the power of demons.  And behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their locality” (AMP Version).
The pigs had more sense than the people of Gadera did. The hogs had rather die than be possessed and ran down the slope into the sea and drowned.
That is always the goal of Satan and his demonic hordes. The demons thought they would be safe in pigs, but the pigs knew better.
As the pigs were swept away to their destruction, the people swept out of the city and asked JESUS to leave. There, before their own eyes, a great and powerful miracle by the Son of God had taken place before their eyes, where two men no longer were possessed but were in their right minds.
Did the people of Gadera stop and worship the Lord at His presence? Did they pause to consider what had just happened in their midst? No, they were more concerned with their ‘pig ministry’ and that their livelihood was gone as well!
Complacency, Contentment, a Godless Society–
In the verses that follow, we see that JESUS did indeed leave.
JESUS will never go where He isn’t wanted!
He will never stay where He isn’t welcomed!
There are PROMISES to fulfill, not just for some, but for all! JESUS came to offer eternal life to all who would receive Him. He came to offer a deeper meaning of our spiritual existence.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Are you CONTENT where you are? Are you SATISFIED to let someone else take your place, some other church lead in the fight?
We have the opportunity to invite JESUS to stay and to see the miracles of changed lives in our churches. To see Him do “exceedingly more than we have ever thought or imagined.”
“Sin takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and makes us pay a price we can’t afford to pay.”