Arguing with an antagonist is like playing chess with a pigeon.
They will poop all over your board and then strut around like they won.
New levels bring new devils. Whatever God blesses, the devil attacks, so if you don’t want anyone to attack you, get on your knees tonight and ask God not to bless you! In 26 years as a local pastor and administrator I have observed that antagonists follow a pattern with their attacks. By knowing this information I am about to share, it won’t be less hurtful, but at least you can see the hate coming and prepare better. Another principle to remember is that the following list is not always sequential, but often will include all elements by the time the attack is done.
1. Control: The first step is control. This is done two ways: (1) Doing favors so you owe them.
(2) Exerting the influence they perceive they have to make you do what they want. That is why it’s important to love everyone, but trust a few.
2. Dismissal: If they can’t control you, they will ridicule, dismiss and even sometimes stop talking to you. Smirks and sarcasm will dominate any interactions. This is the passive/aggressive preferred method. The problem is, the anointing on your life is impossible to ignore. Private anointing brings public blessings and there is no way to ignore God’s operations in your life.
3. Attack: Letters, emails, phone calls, secret meetings, sucker-punch board meetings. When they see that dismissal and control won’t work, they will resort to direct attacks. It’s sad, but some are not only willing to die for the truth they are willing to kill for it. Often the language is couched in religious jargon, but make no mistake, its pain and removal they are after. This is the hardest part, because what is plainly obvious to you when you see God’s blessing is completely oblivious to them. Everything you do screams threat to them. Stay above the fray. Address the hate but don’t embrace it.
4. Enlist others to attack: Another way haters increase the level of attacks is by enlisting others to join them. It is at this point that the depression hits the hardest in you. Your most basic desire is to respond by defending yourself and attacking back. Please resist that temptation. Don’t spend much time following them around to correct the attacks. God has not called you to defend yourself, but to be faithful. Here is what I do: (1) Spend extra time in prayer and fasting, (2) Talk about it with a trusted friend, and (3) Go out of my way to act in loving ways to my attackers. People eventually will see the same issues you saw. It takes a while, but believe me, it will happen.
Right now you may be feeling the wrath of a hate-filled Harry in your life and ministry. Just remember – if God is for you, the ones who are against you are wasting their time.
Roger Hernandez is the ministerial director for the Southern Union Conference