Do you find yourself in a lot of senseless arguments? Maybe you argue and fuss about the same things over and over again. Or, maybe you aren’t arguing about the same things, but you’re arguing with the same people. These folks know just how to push your buttons. Better yet, they dangle that bait out there in front of you, and just like a big fat hungry fish, you gobble it right up!
Many times people know exactly what they are doing when they bait you into an argument. They do it for several different reasons: 1) Maybe they are addicted to that particular brand of drama and chaos and can count on you for it. 2) Maybe they want to throw you off your game by rattling your nerves and getting your focus off of something else they don’t want you focused on (a diversion tactic). 3) Maybe they want you to show out and act like a fool so they can prove to you that you really are a fool and not as good as you think. 4) Maybe they are incredibly insecure with themselves so they want to put you in that frame of mind as well, as a way of making them feel better about themselves.
Other times, people really don’t have any intention of baiting you into an argument—maybe you’re just a little too sensitive about some things. Maybe you’re offended about something, have strong opinions about something, are insecure about something, are protective of someone or something, or just tend to take things personally (internalizing). A lot of times, it won’t even be about you, but you get mad anyway.
Whether it is or isn’t about you, whether it is or isn’t intentional, YOU can control whether or not you take the bait and act a fool. YOU can control whether or not you get offended. You see, ultimately IT’S A LESSON FOR YOU. It may be a lesson in humility. Maybe God is saying that it’s time for you to learn a little more self-control of your mouth and your actions. Maybe it’s a lesson in pride and you need to learn not to be prideful about what GOD did, not YOU. Or, it could be an opportunity for you to let God fight your battles instead of you trying to go all SHE-man all by yourself.
Whatever it is, whatever is said, whatever is done, don’t take the bait. Dig deep within yourself and CHOOSE to be better than that. God made you better than that. Learn to recognize the nasty bait that dangles in front of you. Decide to give up the loud talking, the yelling, the neck rolling, finger pointing, and hand-on-the-hip disposition and replace it with the Spirit of He that lives in you. Do I need to remind you what the fruit of the Spirit are? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? (Galations 5:22-23) Remember? None of that speaks aggression or passive-aggressiveness. None of that implies that you need to go all SHE-Hulk or ghetto fabulous on somebody. Always remember who you are and Whose you are and strive to be better than your flesh and the ways of the world dictates.
So whether it’s your husband, your co-worker, your sibling, your child, the racist sales associate at the store, an unfair instructor, a condescending old man, or whoever—the devil would delight seeing you fall prey to your fleshly weaknesses, just as God would be pleased with your spirit rising above them. From now on, be more conscious of your actions and reactions and don’t take the bait.
Your sister in Christ,