When People Close Lash Out for No Reason - Food for Thought for Christians
Out of the Blue
Can you recall a time when you went to your friend, spouse, relative, or a close colleague with a question about something and, out of nowhere, uncharacteristically they responded to you with a sharpness, irritation and/or a level of aggression that left you wishing you’d never asked.
Maybe you simply asked them to do a little something for you, or politely requested they refrain from something and they declined with such venom that it made you recoil. Did you go away thinking that certainly they have the right to choose not to go along with your request - but was there really any need for that verbal lashing or a death stare.
Is it You, or is it Them?
Of course we can seek God’s help and wisdom to examine ourselves to assess whether or not we’re asking too many questions and becoming an irritant, or making unreasonable requests and becoming a nuisance - and as necessary refrain accordingly and apologise. But if after careful and honest self examination you still cannot fathom why they’re acting out of character, you might want to quietly enquire of them if there’s anything wrong and/or if you’ve upset them in some way you may not be aware of.
At this point it’s great if the other person then acknowledges there’s an issue and you can work on resolving things, but what if - either softly or cuttingly, they tell you “Nothing’s wrong! Everything’s fine”?
So you go on with your day but, low and behold, not too long after, your partner, friend, relative or colleague lashes out at you yet again over some petty inconsequential matter.
I have to admit, after this sort of thing happens a number of times from the same person it can wear me down and on occasion, in an instant and unintentionally, I resort to either snapping back at them, or angrily demand to know why I keep getting automatically negative, aggressive or shouted retorts from them – a question to which I usually get no response. Subsequently such anger and exasperation gives way to feeling bad about myself lashing out in exactly the way I complained about!
The above scenarios can result in a frosty awkward atmosphere, wounded or haughty looks, and cold shouldering. Perhaps one person is thinking along the lines of “well if you don’t like the way I speak to you then I won’t speak at all, or I’ll only speak when it’s absolutely necessary”. Meanwhile the other person decides that if they’re only going to be on the receiving end of unmerited lashing out, they just won’t bother speaking. Hence everyday communications, pleasantries, humour, banter and fun are off limits!
Now, whether or not you eventually respond with an outburst in these circumstances – which I don’t recommend by the way - at what point might you wonder if Satan/the enemy has a hand in all this? When you look back is there a discernible pattern which precedes these occurrences? Is the enemy using your nearest and dearest to spoil or disrupt your day? And why?
The enemy doesn’t want God’s children to be happy.
Were you feeling good or upbeat just prior to the series of lashings out by the other person. Perhaps you’d just received some good news about a relative’s health improving; perhaps you’d just completed a challenging project, or maybe you were still on a high having recently engaged in a praise and worship session with others.
Or perhaps you were at a critical stage of a complex project and the enemy wants to distract you, take away your creativity, or have you procrastinate with being overwhelmed in worry and anxiety over the state of your relationship based on the negative interactions with your nearest and dearest.
In a nutshell, is the enemy out to throw you off track, stop you achieving your goals and/or take away your joy in life?
Conversely, you may have been having a tough day or going through a difficult season where you could have done with some support and TLC from your partner, friend or colleague.
An uncharacteristically defensive, hostile or raised voice response from a dear one can stop you in your tracks.
Whatever your mood was previously, please remember that the enemy is adept at using strife and division to have people feel rejected, isolated, confused and despairing – all aimed at diverting you from living your life according to God’s will.
- So remember Jeremiah 29.11 and know that God has a plan - a good plan - for our lives too. We can fulfil our destinies and enjoy the journey, despite life's twists and turns. The enemy’s plans are quite opposite to God's plans, to say the least, and he’ll do anything and use anybody to persistently get us off course. He’ll use subtle methods as well as blatant/obvious means to try to fill our minds with fears, doubts, frustration and the like.
- And remember 1 Peter 5.8 - be alert to the fact that it’s in the enemy’s job description, so to speak, to strive to devour and harm you. Therefore, as described above, he’ll happily use your family, people you are close to and care about to divert your mind from following God's path.
And Could It Be -
... your partner, relative, best friend, or trusted colleague is telling the truth when he or she says nothing’s wrong? There may not be a specific issue - just the enemy loving for you to be distracted with worrying what’s wrong, or being confused as to whether or not you’re just being over sensitive or mistrusting when there’s no need for it. Yes, he adores it when people are reduced to playing the blame game and getting embroiled with “But you said” and “No I said” strife and contention.
Conversely, and admittedly or not, there may well be something wrong in the life of the other person and, experiencing a rough time, they take it out on you unintentionally. The result can be you both wind up upset or frustrated, in which case the enemy's positively gloating - he enjoys "killing two birds with one stone"!
Yet it doesn't stop at that.
Lucifer, the devil, Satan, the enemy or whatever you choose to call him, is adept at using your nearest and dearest to try to spoil your day, mess with your mind and divert you from all manner of goals and tasks, not limited to the following.
- Instead of working towards your weight loss target or exercise goals, feeling low about relationship spats can lead to procrastination, lethargy and self-medicating with unhealthy comfort food.
- Instead of completing a work challenge or finishing a domestic project your concentration's blown and you're drawn to spending time trying to figure out what’s irking your loved one - and getting nowhere you wallow in confusion or self pity.
- Instead of focusing and meditating on meaning when you sit down to read and study, feeling upset and/or offended at your loved one can be so overwhelming that you read the same text over and over but fail to take anything much in.
- Instead of enjoying your precious free time, you're deeply frustrated and weary, desperately wanting out of having to spend anymore time with the person who has repetitively lashed out at you.
Yes, the enemy is the master of distraction - proficient at getting and keeping you off track, and if he can ruin or end your relationships into the bargain, then he's had a great day at the office, so to speak.
Faced with repeated lashing out from a person close to you, what's your most likely response?
It's Easier Said Than Done, But Strive Not to be Offended
Thwarting Divertive Goals
Considering all above, do keep the enemy’s agenda in mind when you’re faced with atypical contentious behaviour from your loved ones, and promptly ask God to help you not to take it too personally.
Without delay, seek God to guide you in staying on course with your plans, asking Him to give you His supernatural peace to purposefully press on with your day in spite of others lashing out at you. Rather than give way to them, let God help you thwart and block the enemy's divertive plans.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Ambrie Anders