Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? ~ Galatians 4:16
“My job is to share truth, not lies. Surround yourself with people who love the truth. Don’t allow yourself to be poisoned.” ~ Pastor William Carol
Have you ever thought about the process of learning one of the most profound truths of your life? Think about it now. Didn’t the truth come to you in stages? Or rather, didn’t your ability to grasp the truth grow in stages?
As outspoken as I am in my writing and perhaps in some of my closer relationships, I come across as rather passive or permissive in person. In general, I am a very non-confrontational person who knows that her opinions are somewhat strong. So, I would prefer not to state an opinion or rebuttal if I know it’s going to cause a conflict or offense. Generally speaking….
I used to have a FB friend who knew me from high school and felt rather comfortable making inappropriate, sexually suggestive comments on my page. I would post something about the beautiful day and he would quickly comment with some innuendo. On separate occasions I told him to stay out of my convos, to behave himself, to watch his language and one of the last times I even told him to carry a conversation to his own page. But I didn’t tell him his comments were offensive to me, or disrespectful for that matter.
…Not until he told me he was offended by one of comments. That blew my mind.
Back in May I had asked him a question on one of his status updates and made a reference to former president Bush’s politics. This man sent me an email that began with, “I hate religion and I hate politics. I ask that all my friends refrain from posting anything about either on my page.”
I thought he was joking and told him as much. I had offended him with a reference to politics? Seriously? The speed and firmness with which he reprimanded me for my political faux pas made my head spin. I was completely flabbergasted.
I thought about his email for a couple of weeks. The more I pondered it, the more disappointed I became with myself. Someone I didn’t think stood for much of anything was quick to tell me what he considered to be appropriate communication with him. One of the most irreverent people I was acquainted with stood firmer in his conviction of nothing than I stood in my conviction for my faith. If my conviction had been strong, I would have corrected him from his first inappropriate comment about how he was addressing a child of God, an ambassador of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit. He had no idea who he was talking to or how he was offending and disrespecting me because I didn’t speak my truth to his ridiculousness.
I was deeply chastened by that experience.
Eventually, I made up for my laxness in an email that proclaimed my identity and beliefs. I admitted my wrong in not speaking up sooner about how inappropriate and disrespectful I considered his communications and thanked him for his conviction in addressing me. I demanded that in any future communication he address me in a manner that is consistent with who I am, not who he wants me to be or thinks he remembers me to be. And if he couldn’t do that, then he should simply not communicate with me at all. He deleted me.
I breathed easier.
He was instrumental in my learning such a monumental lesson on my walk: we can live as we believe but if we don’t speak as we believe, how much are we really walking in the truth?
I have since been on a “disrespect patrol.” I’ve checked a director at work who spoke to me twice like I was gunk on the bottom of her shoe. I walked into her office and told her calmly that we were neighbors, that’s all. “The way you spoke to me was disrespectful. If you want respect, you’re going to have to give it.” She tried to defend herself by saying the other assistants didn’t have a problem with the way she spoke. “I’m not them and I have problem.” She apologized a few times and has since avoided me.
There have been a couple of other situations that have hammered home this lesson of truth and conviction for me. I am speaking up far more quickly than I did before the confrontation with my former FB/high school buddy. The enemy has a lot of ways of lying to us. What I’ve learned in these recent situations where I have been blatantly disrespected is that the antagonist was lying to me by speaking to me as if I belonged to him, not God. The enemy was speaking to me as if I were of this world and not a citizen of heaven. When my emotional response was discouragement, depression, sadness, anger, resentment, etc. then I was responding in the same spirit that was attacking me.
Homey don’t play dat (not for long)! The promises God has spoken over my life are larger than my circumstances… and I’m convicted enough to make sure my circumstances are informed of their defeat.
When people are lying to you by their treatment of you, speak up and correct them. As a lady said at a conference this weekend, “You can have as much of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as you want.” I’ll add, you can share as much of your truth you want. Don’t buy into the lies of poor treatment by friends, family, co-workers or anyone else for that matter.
You’re blessed by the Most High, Maker of Heaven and Earth. Act like it. And let the people know.
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” ~ Genesis 14:19-20