In our day-to-day life, the really important decisions we make are about “real or not real”, “friend or foe”, “when to push”, “”when to retreat and live to fight another day”, fight or flight”, the types of decisions we face that determine our actions or reactions to something that has presented itself. This is especially difficult when you begin to realize that everything you are experiencing is an illusion. Nothing is real. Everything will pass away as it never happened. So how do we navigate a dense fog? What do we do in white out? What do we do when the people around us are not who they say they are, or we thought they were?
I will take an example out of my own life. I had been married to my ex-husband for 12 years, gave him two daughters, we were accepted by a Foreign Mission Board and heading to Yemen, in Church leadership with keys to the church and leading a children’s division, when my ex-husband said to me, “If you really knew who I am, you would not like me.” I think I answered something like, ‘Huh? What are you talking about?” He took the next year of our lives together to show me. I call this my ‘age of disillusionment” In the next few months I would discover he was holding an opium den orgie in the furnished part of our basement, he was smuggling jade in to the US, He was into female human trafficking, his associates were holding a mom captive as a sex slave with her children as the shackles (if you do what we say we won’t kill your children and you will see them again), into drugs and supporting the wrong side of apartheid with mercenaries. I had married a monster.
So now what? I had two children, both with premature births, facing many health issues. I had given up my career to stay at home and take care of them, so no visible means of support outside this one who had revealed to me he was a monster. What to do when your most respected and loved supports turn out to be the enemy? That is one of the most important decisions we will have to make while here on planet earth in time/space. And we face it at one level or another every day.
Take care in choosing your friends and associates. Sirach 12:14-18 in the Apocrypha. (I am not Catholic. Just read the book.) So, no one pities a person who associates with a sinner and becomes involved in the other’s sins. (or takes up a reproach). He stands by you for a while, but if you falter, he will not be there. An enemy speaks sweetly with his lips, but in his heart, he plans to throw you into a pit; an enemy may have tears in his eyes, but if he finds an opportunity, he will never have enough of your blood…….. If evil comes upon you, you will find him there ahead of you, PRETENDING TO HELP, he will trip you up. Then he will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, AND SHOW HIS TRUE FACE.
One last thought. I would say to true sons of The Lord God, trust your instincts. If something has all your alarms going off, then it is probably evil. Get out. Do not proceed with whatever is in the plans no matter who it is that set up the event. Once you are out and in more safe ground, then you can sort out who is friend and who is foe and what is real and what is not real and take steps in your own behalf. This just happened to me last week. I made an alliance with people completely opposite to me in every way. But I arrogantly thought I was big enough to get around our differences, Nothing could be further from the truth. They set a trap for me and executed it perfectly, with smiling faces, and talk of being “family” and how much they “cared for me”. All the while, every time I got off the phone with them, there was a nagging feeling it was not good. Something was seriously wrong. I ignored my instincts.
It ended when I was facing an event and was actually near panic about it. I called my “friends” and told them how upset I was and how much I was afraid it was a trap. But this friend said to go to the appointment and do what they say. I went against my own visceral reaction, and it was very wrong. Definitely a set up. I walked into a trap. I barely got out before it was impossible to do.
Upset and feeling discombobulated, I called my advisor. He was angry with me for saying I should have never gone to that meeting. He defended the perpetrators and took their side against me; set out to explain their behavior like they were right and good and I was the “bad”. Then he got very parental and tried to correct me for wanting to take a stand for my personal preservation in my own behalf. Then I saw it. He was exactly as is described in the passage in Sirach. He was there at that event before me. Perhaps helped set it up or worked in the mechanisms behind the scenes. And then was upset at me when it went bad for me, and I wanted to take action in my own behalf. I am sure he is “whispering much” now after he clapped his hands over me reveling in his accomplishment toward my demise.
Thankfully, I woke up in that instant and took steps in my own behalf and survived. Loyalty is a good thing when it is given to one who is true. It can be your destruction if given to one who is faking it. Who is real and who is faking and what to do when you are faced with this is one of the most important decisions you will face in time/space.