Psalm 5:8 (New Living Translation)
Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow.
If I believe that someone who injures me in a relationship conflict is my enemy, then my thinking is too small.
Our enemies are the rebellious spirits who hate God and oppose his rule. They attack him by attacking what he loves—us—and they target our relationships because we are vulnerable in our need for love and connection with other people.
The psalmist knows that our enemies cannot harm us when we are centered in God’s love and will for our lives. We get into trouble when we lose sight of him and stray from the path he has set for us.
The psalmist continues in verse 9:
My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery.
The legions of Satan are skilled at deception. Indeed, that is their favorite weapon against the children of God. When someone injures me, these spirit enemies lie and jabber at me, telling me what my wounded ego wants to hear. They flatter me by telling me how right I am and how wrong the other person is, how justified I am to feel angry and resentful. But their whispers stink of death because their very breath arises from all that is doomed and putrid and alienated from our holy God. They pretend to build me up, but their purpose is always to corrupt and destroy.
The psalmist identifies our hope in verse 10:
O God, declare them guilty. Let them be caught in their own traps. Drive them away because of their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.
The God we belong to is our fortress and strength against these devious spirits of darkness. I need God’s truth and light to expose them, so that their falseness becomes obvious and they are condemned by their own lies. I can triumph when I acknowledge that this is God’s battle. He will judge and banish the evil ones who oppose him and save me from their power to control and deceive me.
FATHER, it is so easy to lose my way when I feel hurt and offended by someone I care about. I feel a strong pull to justify myself and to escalate hostilities with resentment and retaliation. Help me to recognize the lies that are tempting me to see this other person as the source of my pain. Open my eyes to recognize my true enemies and acknowledge my need for your strength and truth to banish them.
Psalm 32:8; John 8:44
Name a lie that might tempt you to leave God’s path and escalate a conflict.