One of my favorite mottos is from 1 Corinthians: Love hopes all things. If someone’s motives are unknown, instead of assuming the worst, we all do well to assume they mean well. (Until proven otherwise.)
That said, I do know a few individuals who—though they mean well—don’t do well. Their vantage point is off; their judgment is impaired; they’ve fallen, and they can’t get up. They’re delusional: “maintaining fixed false beliefs even when confronted with facts.”
Another of my favorite mottos is Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. I’m convinced that delusional people necessitate that preface, if it is possible. This is the constituency that inspired Abe Lincoln to quote, “You can’t please all the people all the time.” And it’s true: you can’t expect normal responses from anyone “maintaining fixed false beliefs even when confronted with facts.”
These are clues that someone may be delusional:
· They forcefully persist with their idea or belief;
· Their belief exerts undue influence in their life;
· They are suspicious or secretive;
· They are hypersensitive about the belief;
· No matter how unlikely their worst-case scenario is, they’re convinced;
· Attempts to contradict their belief arouse strong reaction, often hostility;
· Their belief is uncharacteristic of aspects of their life.
Romans 12 tells Christians how to live with people:
· Hate evil
· Love good
· Serving God
· And He tells us several times in this short chapter to be humble—and not vengeful.
With unreasonable people, there’s one verse in Romans 12 that’s always good start—(and it’s the most other-worldly): If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.
Today, we are facing a grim reality: it’s extremely difficult to practice such attributes with these precariously preoccupied persons. And at times, in spite of our very great efforts, it may be impossible to be at peace with all men.
That’s where Matthew 5 comes in: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…