January 14th - Confusion
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18 (NKJV)
Can you relate to this? You have a relationship that is a continual source of emotional pain. You try to mend the relationship and in spite of all your effort the relationship returns to a place of dysfunction. In his book entitled, "People of the Lie," author, M. Scott Peck talked about the difficulties that are caused by an individual who is playing by a different set of ethical rules. This person seems to thrive on controversy, loves a good fight, and is continually sowing seeds of trouble through gossip and slander. The reaction of a normal person is confusion. "What is going on? What did I do wrong? How did I get in this situation? I just don't understand?"
We have probably all been there. The object of an unwanted adversarial relationship. On the receiving end of an unwarranted rejection. In a situation that causes amazing emotional pain. All of it unexpected--landing where we are vulnerable--creating another opportunity to grow in humility, patience and forgiveness. How can we guard ourselves from these "people of the lie?"
Start with this understanding: You will not be able to avoid these situations as long as you are living on planet earth. Jesus suffered as the object of Satan's wrath. He was accused
of sin that He never committed. He was betrayed by a close friend and deserted by the rest of the disciples in His hour of need. The lesson to be learned? Perhaps that life is not fair and that other people do have the capacity to let you down.
Where does that leave us? At times it leaves us in a state of confusion; but, it also causes us to lean on Jesus. The question that we must answer deals with our own conduct: When faced with an unwanted adversarial relationship, how do we respond? As Believers, we go the second mile; we turn the other cheek; we return good for evil; we continue to walk in the light as He is in the light. We do not fight fire with fire. We do not fight against flesh and blood, and our weapons are not carnal. We meet the challenge of confusion with all that is Godly and good.
Author’s Note: It is not my job to figure out what makes a person do what a person does. Trying to figure out why people act out with both self-destructive and hateful behavior is nearly impossible. The good news is that I am not responsible for them—I am simply called to love and pray for them. On the other hand, I am responsible for my own behavior. I do appreciate the grace of God that covers my bad behavior with grace—but, at the same time, I do not want to be the source of emotional pain in another person’s life. RJD