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)
In his book entitled, "People of the Lie," author, M. Scott Peck talked about the relational difficulties that arise when in a relationship with 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. Simply confused by a relationship that went south for no apparent reason. Suddenly, you are the object of an unwanted adversarial relationship. On the receiving end of 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 in His "friends" in His hour of need. The lesson to be learned? LIFE IS NOT FAIR! So, where does that leave us? At times, confused--but, all the more dependent upon the Lord. It also gives us an opportunity to be "people of peace." 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, while leaning on the one who is not confused by it all…the Rock of our Salvation!
Author's note: As a pastor I have always made an effort to avoid doing and saying things that create adversarial relationships. Never-the-less, I have had occasions where a person made the unilateral decision to act hateful towards me. Those are the times when I relate to King David calling out to God, because he is suffering injustice at the hands of an adversary. Many times I have asked the Lord for the grace to turn the other check and to bite my tongue. There are other times when I simply wait on the Lord and rest.