What the Movie Roots Reminded Me About the Devil

“They treat you like an animal so you’ll act like an animal, so they can kill you like an animal.”

When I was a child, I remember hearing a lot of talk about a TV mini-series called Roots, but I was too young to watch it. I’m now a fan of historical events of any kind, so when I saw the History Channel preview a re-make, I knew immediately I wanted to record it.

But I don’t think I was prepared for how much it would impact me.

I’m not ignorant of history’s slave trade in our world, but you forget just how awful people were treated. And let me emphasis the word people — not animals. In the movie, Kunta Kinte said, “They treat you like an animal so you’ll act like an animal, so they can kill you like an animal.”

I try to always remember we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but against principalities and powers of darkness. In other words, the Bible says people are not our enemy. But ignorant, heartless, people can be — when they are used by the devil to carry out his evil atrocities against God’s creation.

Our enemy has the same goal and motive as Kunta Kinte’s warning to his friend. The devil wants us to react so he provokes. And when we react (in the flesh or the heart), he has an open door to harm (or even kill us) through guilt, condemnation, or simple distraction.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, James said, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God (1:19-20). Wrath is nothing more than the outburst of a vengeful mind. Pause and take a look around our world right now. Wrath is everywhere, but it all started with provocation.

When the enemy provokes us, he simply uses anything he can to incite, instigate, anger or irritate — all for a reaction. Because once we react in the flesh, the enemy gets what he wants: proof we are worth destroying… which of course, we aren’t. But that’s what provoking does: it turns us into someone we’re not.

In the movie Roots, the hateful slave owners provoked, prodded, and incited their slaves based on the color of their skin. Our enemy, the devil, does the same thing to you and I simply because we were created in the image of God. That’s all the reason he needs.

Provocation won’t be in Heaven.
So stand firm. Resist it. And never let the devil use you to provoke another.

“For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires]” (Amplified). God has called us to Himself in righteousness. When Jesus took our sins, He took the ridicule, beating, and humiliation for us. I can hardly imagine how awful that must have been. But the truth remains that “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

People are not animals. People are made in the image of God, created to be filled with His Spirit, His love, His power, and the majesty of Heaven. THIS is what the devil hates. THIS is why he provokes you. If he can get you to react, it justifies all his actions against you.

Don’t give him the pleasure.

Remember Who is for you. Be slow to wrath. Tap into your righteousness in Christ. And never forget who you are.