I’ve got difficult people in my life. Yes, yes, I know – hard to believe, right? It’s a real challenge to think anyone out there would give me a hard time. I’m not talking about people who leave the front door open, or who forget I can’t hear them. I mean, there are people who inspire me to pray things like:
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.”
Usually (and this is the sad part) these are other Christians. They are people who seem to put their feet right where I need to go in life. They block every path. Seriously, they seem to be out to get me and everyone around me. Sadly, my quiet time is filled with expressions of hurt and requests for salvation from these….Christians.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Sometimes I just want to reach out and smack ’em. Any shrink I visit wouldn’t have to say, “I’m sensing some deeply rooted hostility here.” Nope. The hurt and anger would be right there on the surface; no need to dig. Why do they feel the need to act this way? Where’s the love? Who am I to deserve this from them?
How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Sure, these people believe themselves to be as pure as the driven snow. Their words, on the surface, show all sorts of concern, but those of us who know can see past the surface. We see the double-meanings, the “oh, you misunderstood me” behind every word. I sound paranoid, right? But tell me -honestly – have you never met people like this? People who think service is something they have to do to you instead of for you? Servant leaders who are there just to be served? Leaders who claim to meet your needs, when in fact they are meeting the needs they tell you you’re supposed to have? Church members who groundlessly believe you exist simply to support their own personal agendas for the body of Christ? Deacon candidates who say, “You wouldn’t want to be accused of not loving everyone equally…?” when you oppose their nomination? Yeah….you know what I’m talking about. Don’t con me, man.
Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.
But wait, just for a moment, and consider with me the following: for some of these people, we are the ones attacking them.
Yep. Every (seemingly) heavy-handed pastor has his moments when he says about you and me “Why are they attacking me? What did I do?” Every deacon who seems to have his own agenda has thought, “Sure, they talk nice in front of others, but I have seen their hearts.” Every time we complain about some guy derailing us, he’s probably complaining about our getting in the way of progress. Every ministry head who seems arrogant (to us), or over-bearing (to us), or just bizarrely unaware (to us) believes himself to be just as aware of the “real” facts as we consider him to be clueless.
“Hey,” you cry, “I sleep just fine. He’s the one who probably stays up late. He’s the guy who can’t sleep, who gets up at 4:17 am and stares out the window.” I would bet he, whoever he (or she) is, thinks the same thing about you.
So, what do we do? I’m sorry, but I just can’t change my view of them, those bad Christians out there. They seem to be the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ maxim, “Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst.” I work to love them, to pray for them. I look for the good in them, and yet they seem to work so hard to show me their evil side.
Perhaps I should see myself in them, and remember another C.S. Lewis quote: “Badness is only spoiled goodness.”