Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
If you are familiar with today’s focus text, you know Herod was up to no good. He was telling a lie, deceiving the Magi with false motives, and plotting to kill the Christ child. His intent was not worship but murder. He didn’t care about Jesus. Herod cared only about himself. He saw Jesus as a threat.
I can’t imagine anyone has successfully navigated through life without encountering manipulative, mean-spirited, devious individuals who seek to harm and destroy. Unfortunately, there are plenty of them. Herod was just one of many.
When I was in the Navy Band, I encountered a fellow who had determined to defame me. In those days, I was shy and kept to myself. While in the presence of his friends, he told me he hated me. And then he shouted, “What do you have to say about that?”
I wasn’t about to mix it up with a bully and his buddies. So I kept my mouth shut and tried to steer clear of him. But the taunting continued. The experience was troubling and very hurtful.
Sadly, even within the Christian community you will find mean-spirited people intent upon making your life miserable. Battles between individuals and families within churches are a painful reality, and a hindrance to the Lord’s ministry through His church.
You encounter these menacing personalities at work, in public, and in your family. Likely, as you read this, a name or two comes to mind. When referring to these individuals we make statements like:
“I don’t know why, but she’s out to get me.”
“He has it in for me.”
“You can’t trust a word she says.”
So, what do you do to handle the troubling and painful situations brought on by your enemies?
When you find yourself in a dangerous relationship, ask God for His protection. I have often offered up Isaiah 54:17 in prayer. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” And God has always protected me.
As a radio DJ, I worked for a menacing boss. Made my life miserable. Eventually, he was fired, and I was promoted to his position.
People who tormented me have been moved and removed. Plots against me have either turned to nothing or brought harm on those who intended it.
Not only does God protect, He warns. Herod used the Magi to learn the whereabouts of Jesus so he could destroy the baby. But the Magi were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. Joseph was also warned by an angel to move the family to Egypt. Sometimes God will give you sensitivity to a dangerous situation by warning you to flee.
I have learned that the best way to handle a bully is take the high ground. If you try to fight, you will lose. The old expression, “You can’t bully a bully” is accurate. Fight them with something they can’t handle. Fight with love. Here is one of my favorite scriptures on the subject:
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21
Next time you encounter a bully, hit him or her with “burning coals” of kindness. I’ve never seen it fail.
Oh, that guy back in the Navy who caused me so much grief. We became friends. Proof again, “with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
God’s way of handling difficult people works.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Is Your Church an Accepting Church?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.