Paradoxical Keys

Paradoxical Keys

In the stillness, I heard the Lord speak.

I’d just returned from a restaurant and entered my hotel room. In some places, housekeeping staff can be snoopy or worse, so I used two tiny padlocks on my suitcases as a deterrent.

I opened the first lock and rummaged around looking for my phone cord. When I went to unfasten the other lock, the key was gone! I’d only laid it down for a second. How could it disappear? A frantic search ensued. Would I have to cut open my bag?

Finally, I entered the dark bathroom, took a deep breath, and prayed. That’s when God whispered. “I am going to give you a key.” It wasn’t audible. The phrase just floated to the surface of my mind. I paused to think. He meant something beyond the luggage key—another double meaning.

My spiritual antenna went up.

I returned to my suitcase and almost immediately found the little lock key. It had slipped out of sight between some folded shirts. I thanked God, but remained alert.

What are you saying to me, God? At the time, I felt very angry and unresolved with someone in my life. Still, nothing happened right away.


The speaker had one word printed on it…

An hour later, I watched a movie on a laptop, using a small amplifying appliance to increase the sound. All at once, I noticed the brand name of the appliance: Edifier. Made by a Chinese company, Edifier International specializes in audio equipment. But the term is well known in Christianese because it’s used nearly a dozen times in the New Testament. (KJV)

An edifier, by definition, is a person who instructs in order to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement. And God spoke this word to me with metaphorical emphasis through “amplifying speakers,” making His message loud and clear. The creative language of God is surprising and even funny at times.

She hurt me...

She hurt me…

However, it wasn’t funny to me then. To edify was the key—but it was the last thing I wanted to do. In essence God was saying, “Don’t rip into this person regarding her failures. Instead, remind her who she really is—the person I made her to be before all the disappointments.”

God was asking me to move in the opposite spirit.

Perplexing spiritual principles sometimes involve this kind of paradox. It’s not new, but usually feels counterintuitive. We all know that Jesus said to turn the other cheek, love your enemies, and give up your coat. Ultimately, He laid down his life instead of fighting back, to gain the keys to heaven and hell.

“I know—I know!” I said, clenching my hands. “But it’s not easy, God. She hurt me.”

On YouTube, John Bevere gives a half-hour talk on a book he wrote called, The Bait of Satan. While the title is off-putting, it’s one of the best teachings I’ve ever come across. Seriously, make a cup of coffee, sit down, and watch it.

Bevere speaks about what happens when someone hurts you, and you get offended. Many offenses are like a rude push. You can recover more easily. But others feel like a sledgehammer hit, creating wounds that do not mend overnight. If unexamined, sometimes they never heal. The reality is—when we take up an offense, eventually it causes us more harm.

Bevere said the origins of the word, “offense,” had to do with a bait stick that hunters used to trap small animals. Matthew 18: 34-35 clearly says, offense is the bait stick Satan uses to trap us. Why? Because, if we don’t forgive others from our hearts, we’re “handed over to the torturers” and end up in torment.

To love someone and put them on a pedestal where we don’t see their faults—is immature love, Bevere says. When we experience the outcome of their mistakes and carry an offense—that’s also immature love. To see someone’s flaws and limitations, but love them with God’s love is mature love. But how do we get to that kind of maturity?

Bevere goes on to explain. Our natural bodies are more susceptible to injury, if we are not exercised and strong. The same is true for our spirits. An enlarged spirit does not take offense easily. But how do we exercise and strengthen our spirits?

By learning to move in the opposite spirit.

Only possible with God

Only possible with God

Keith M. Kent sums it up perfectly in what is known as…

The Paradoxical Commandments

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

 Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”

 —Keith M. Kent, The Silent Revolution (see this for more)

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Can you share a time when God asked you to move in the opposite spirit?


  1. Do you ever wonder if what you’re writing means anything to anyone? Well no need to wonder that today. Thank you.

  2. double meanings. paying attention to such things is crazy to some. not paying attention to such things is crazy to me! and you are an important coach and cheerleader to help me stay alert. it’s not natural so it takes effort. thank you for helping.
    suzee B