One of the quickest ways to enrage a toxic person is to refuse to engage them on their own terms — and it is one of the best ways to restore your own peace and do not allow them to continue stealing it from you.
Your peace does not have to be contingent upon whether or not toxic people around you continue to do things like:
– Giving Unsolicited Advice
– Insulting Others
– Spreading Gossip
– Pitting people against each other
– Constant Criticism
– Not Respecting Boundaries
Etc. (See the linked article: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theactivetimes.com/healthy-living/habits-of-toxic-people%3famp )
This Christmas, you may have enemies who masquerade as friends, you may have family or friends who thrive on drama, you may have people around you who insist on conflict, abusive behavior, and all kinds of pride and narcissism — who want to leverage their physical proximity to you during the holidays to sink their poisonous fangs into you. Or maybe I’m the only one who sees the possible evidence of such things around themselves?
Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. And if you are a Christian, you believe that God came in the flesh to offer us a salvation that we couldn’t earn ourselves because we were all enemies of God. We see times when the people sought to kill Him and He just seemingly walked right through them thwarting their plans ands not getting engaged with them on their terms. We see the Pharisees asking Him questions to try and trap Him and He doesn’t engage their attack, He redirects and leaves them grumbling amongst themselves. We see when they sought to try Him that He was silent and did not engage them directly and even suffered their attacks and persecution, knowing that there was something much greater at stake — suffering for the sins of the world. His suffering had a purpose, and therefore, He could withstand the taunts and not have to engage them on their terms.
We can learn from this example. We know that the Bible tells us to “resist the devil and he will flee” — but tells us “do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” So if we are dealing with an evil person who likes to provoke and attack us, we are encouraged to not engage them on their terms. And when we trust and obey in this way, when we offer blessing to those who seek to curse us — we are free and full of peace, while it is to them “like having hot coals dumped on their heads”.
Lord, give us the humility and gratitude and trust in you that allows us to not engage those who are toxic and evil, but to “[walk] right through the crowd and [go] on [our] way” as You did in Luke 4:30 and “[hide] [ourselves]” as You did in John 8:59 and “[escape] their grasp” as You did in John 10:39. Order our footsteps and be delighted in our way. Remind us of what we can expect from wolves as described in Matthew chapter 10, but let our hope be in you and not in ourselves. Amen.