We all have that one person or sometimes more, who rub us the wrong way. Some may have situations with another where by the other person’s behavior, it truly looks like that person is what we could call an enemy. Whether knowingly or not, they are causing trouble, issues, dissension, spreading rumors, lying…the list goes on. Regardless of the situation, there is pain and anguish, anger, hurt, possibly damaged lives.
While it would be wonderful to think that those who claim to live for God, who have embraced Jesus for who He is and claim to be followers of Him, would not be that enemy, sadly, there are those among that group who do behave in troublesome and divisive ways, even prejudicial or hateful. I’d like to put a little perspective on it all if I may. For starters, while it may feel very much like the person is an enemy, and it is admittedly extremely difficult to see past the person and the trouble they are causing, the person, people, are not the problem. Let us dig a bit.
Job 2:1-2 “Now the day came about that the angels of God came to stand beside the Lord, and the Adversary too came among them to stand beside the Lord. Now the Lord said to the Adversary, “Where are you coming from?” And the Adversary replied to the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth and from walking in it.””
Okay, right from the Tanakh, the Old Testament, there is God, there are the angels of God, and there is the adversary, the opponent of God.
In the New Testament it goes on to say “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Again there is the description that there is an adversary of God. The battle is not with another person, it is spiritual. We are physical, we are emotional, and we are spiritual. All of us. Regardless of beliefs. In the spiritual, we are either under the influence of God, or we are under the influence of the enemy, God’s adversary, Satan, also known as the evil one or the wicked one.
And as you continue reading Job 2, you see God giving the adversary permission to test Job. Job was faithful to God and yet Job was tested in that faith and trust in God. As Job says further down in that chapter “Shall we also accept the good from God, and not accept the evil?”
Yes, that is a hard one. Matthew 5:45 “For He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Psalm 145:9 “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are on all His works.” God pours out His common grace to all.
Since God is not dependent on anything outside Himself, He did not create the universe because He needed to, nor can we demand He preserve it. Grace refers to anything God does for us that we do not deserve. So He preserves the righteous and the unrighteous, in the ways He needs to, out of His grace, His love.
A helpful post to review at this point would be The Sovereignty of God. It is very difficult to grasp how a good God can allow hard times, pain, misfortune, suffering. However there is so much more to it than what we see.
Now, about the person or people or situations that are causing trouble, let us be clear on something, not everyone who says they are a follower of Jesus, a Christian, truly is. Matthew 7 is a detailed analysis of that as is Galatians 5. The fruit of the Spirit (God’s Spirit) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now, there is not one person (other than Jesus) who is perfect in all of these areas. However, there is a lapse, and there is a constant pattern and they are not one and the same.
Although it is often human nature to want to strike back, “The best defense is a good offense” is an expression that has been applied to many situations including games and military combat. The way to wage warfare in this realm, spiritual warfare, is in prayer. You can simply talk it all out to God and even better, go into scripture to address the emotions you are feeling and the things that are happening. Google is a wonderful resource in helping you pull up scriptures and biblehub.com is a fantastic resource to help you analyze those scriptures. And pray. Pray, and pray some more. There may be actions you do need to take. However, first to God in prayer, and surrounding any actions you may need to take, keep on praying.
Jesus on the cross in the utmost of His agony said ““Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Even if you believe that the person or people involved know what they are doing, they do not truly know in the deepest meaning of that word.
Praying for you, praying for me, and praying for those who right now at this very moment are under the influence of the evil one. May this be the day of their repentance (turning from their sin towards God and His way) and of their salvation. As always, please feel free to comment below or contact to discuss further.