Conflict does not send out invitations telling you when it’s coming or going to happen. The real test for us is how we respond when it arrives.
Dealing with difficult people and situations…
I started a study of Proverbs out of a search for wisdom in a personal situation I was dealing with. It was a very difficult situation and I really had no clarity in it. I wanted to respond the right way, but was so confused about the dynamics that surrounded it all. It seemed on the surface that everything was fine, but there was this little nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I tried to make sense of it all, while dismissing some of those feelings… reasoning them away with excuses instead of realizing and admitting that those feelings, those “intuitions” were the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.
God revealed so much more than just an answer for my situation
In the midst of this struggle, I thought to myself, “What better place to find wisdom than the book of Proverbs?!” I would have never, in a million years, believed what God would uncover and reveal to me. It was truly amazing! What I learned is that not only is Proverbs a magnificent resource for endless practical wisdom, but it is so much deeper than that. It encompasses the gift of salvation in Jesus, the leading of the Holy Spirit and necessity to wrap ourselves (and these gifts) in the absolute, never-changing, almighty, war winning, fear defeating and freeing truth of God.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you just know in your heart of hearts is not quite right, but cannot make sense of it all?
Well, Proverbs is a wonderful tool. It gives extraordinary practical advice, but what I have discovered beyond that is the principles it gives can help direct us through difficult things, help us measure other outside instruction and find clarity and peace for the process.
Not only did God show me what to do in my situation, He gave me clarity through the Holy Spirit to understand how I needed to handle it and why I needed to handle it that way. All of the sudden, it all made sense! I can’t describe the feeling of release and freedom that came with doing it His way instead of mine. It was so specific, so perfect and it was right there in His word!
What to do…
…If sinners entice you, do not consent.
This passage goes on in verse 11-14 and talks about the different ways and things unbelievers will say… “Come with us”, “Let us ambush the innocent without cause”, “We will find wealth”, “Throw in your lot with us and we will have one purse”
- Have you ever been in a situation that sounds like a good deal, but in the back of your mind, you feel an uneasiness?
- It sounds great! Almost too good to be true?
- Have you ever been talked into doing something against your better judgment?
- Have you ever been enticed to do something that seems dishonest or just doesn’t feel quite right?
This scripture clearly tells us what to do… DO NOT CONSENT. There is a reason…
Proverbs 1:16 & 18b:
For their feet run to evil… they ambush their own lives
Have you ever had a deal go bad because of someone else’s lack of integrity?
- Have you ever been effected by someone else’s choices that you partnered with?
- Have you ever had to suffer consequences that were out of your control because of someone who just refused to do the right thing by you and the others surrounding the situation?
- Not only do these kind of people ambush their own life, but also everyone who has joined with them. They drag them into their dishonesty, bad choices and lack of wisdom and those people are taken down with them.
… Scoffers delight themselves in scofffing and fools hate knowledge.
What is a scoffer?
The Hebrew word is “lits” meaning “mocker”
The English definition of a “scoffer” is “someone who jeers, mocks or treats something with contempt, laughs at others, makes fun of them and acts as if they are worthless.”
- They are prideful, arrogant and presumptuous
- People who must have things their own way
- They feel the need to control and correct everything and everyone
- They hide under a facade of confidence
- They are filled with bitterness and anger
- They feel the need to constantly criticize others and make false claims
They hate knowledge! What have we learned that knowledge is? Knowledge is Truth! Wow!
- Do not bind yourself to these kind of people!
How do we deal with these kind of people?
He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves (or reasons with) a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove (or reason with) a scoffer or he will hate you…
- Walk away… plain and simple!
- Don’t confront or ty to reason with an arrogant cynic, because you’ll get slapped in the face
- If you confront their bad behavior, you’ll get kicked
- Don’t waste your time because all you’ll get is abuse
This was the “aha” moment for me! This was my problem! I was dealing with a scoffer. (I know how ridiculous that sounds, but there is so much clarity in this word!)…
- Scoffers laugh, mock and talk behind the back of anyone they feel threatened by or has the attention of others. They see them as competition and feel the need to disqualify them.
- They ridicule others, their work, position, policies and opinions while never admitting to any downsides, flaws or fault of their own.
They view any claims of truth as an effort to gain power, so they tear down, slander and falsely accuse to combat the truth they are threatened by.
This was someone who could not be reasoned with! I was getting ridiculed, accused and slandered behind my back, while they were smiling in my face through it all. This is why the room went silent whenever I walked in. This was that unsettled feeling I kept having. This is why I never felt like I belonged or that it was a good fit or the right decision from the beginning. No matter how hard I tried to make sense of it, the peace would not come.
So… when I finally confronted the situation, all I got was anger, dishonor and hate. No matter how much I tried to reason with them about the situation, they were not having it! No matter how diplomatic I tried to be, all I got were false accusations, anger and criticism. I was floored… in shock. I felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut. I did not see it coming. My humility looked like weakness to them and it did not go well.
I would like to say I handled the situation perfectly. Obviously, I was trying to defend myself , when I should have just walked away.
I was wasting my time… Sometimes there are things that we just need to leave to God. His thoughts are higher, His ways are higher and they always produce better results than ours. It is not our job to fix people…
- Sometimes people simply lack the combination of humility and inner peace that comes with the wisdom of God, because they have not chosen to give their life to Him. He is the one who changes hearts and gives peace.
Sometimes there are roots of bitterness because they have been wronged in some significant way and rather than letting it go and letting God be the judge, they take matters into their own hands and execute their own judgment on others. Hurt people hurt people. Only God gives joy and release in the place of hurt and pain.
- Sometimes people are cloaked in arrogance and pride, but underneath, there is great insecurity that only the power of God can overcome.
This is what a destiny without God looks like…
Because they hated knowledge (truth) and did not choose the fear (reverence) of the Lord, they would not accept my counsel… they will eat of the fruit of their own way and will be consumed with their own devices… their waywardness will kill them… their false sense of security will destroy them.
Someone who is not walking in truth and refuses to accept it will certainly not receive it from the very person they are mocking and slandering. I learned that the hard way. If I had just heeded the wisdom of God of what not to do in the first place, and not tried to make an unequally yoked situation work, I would not have been in the difficult place I found myself in! Secondly, I could have spared myself a lot of grief by how I handled it once I was in it.
People who do not choose the wisdom of salvation will be consumed by their own bad choices and you do not want to be tethered to that cord of destruction.
This is what a destiny with God looks like…
He who listens to me will live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.