When An Oxymoron Steals Your Joy

portrait of a young woman in forest
The definition of an oxymoron is “a word or group of words that is self-contradicting”. That’s why Oxymoron is the perfect one word, nail-hitting-the-head definition of certain people.
I know that sounds harsh and a bit judgmental, but I also know, you know exactly who I’m talking about. I’d even wager a few faces popped in your head when you read that description. I mean, what ministry-living woman hasn’t faced an oxymoron or two or fifty?!! Yet despite their prevalence, in ministry settings, they never cease to catch us off guard and wreak havoc.
You see, Oymorons are brilliant fakers. They are intuitively sly and can skillfully slip in unsuspected, appearing perfectly genuine. They fit in so well, we swear they’re one of us. It’s only after winning our love and friendship that their true colors show! Those true colors paint a Judas-likeness that can plow through a church like a wrecking ball run wild. Such morale-busting and heart-breaking and ministry-hindering must make oxymorons some of satan’s BFFs!
So how do we cope with the Oxymorons in our lives? How do we stop them from steam-rolling us? How can we keep them from stealing our joy?
Here are some tips I’m trying to learn. I hope these bullet points and verses will encourage you too.

  • I must remind myself that my God will never be played or taken by any human, ever! No matter how things may appear, the truth is, no one is getting away with anything! I need to let that sobering reality sink in a bit. I need to remember I won’t get away with sinful responses any more than they will get away with their sinful behavior.
    Galatians 6:7-9 Don’t be misled—God is not mocked. You will always reap what you sow. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
  • I must remember my own weaknesses, sins, and need for mercy; admit how easily I too could fall into the same sinful behavior. I need to embrace that kind of humility in order to genuinely pray for this brother/sister.
    Galatians 6:1-3 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.
  • I need to carefully pray through the following questions:
    • Should I gently confront this person or should I stay silent waiting and trusting the Lord to handle things in His way and His time?
    • Should I seek counsel?
    • How can I sacrificially serve this brother/sister?
    • Is it time for Matthew 18:15-17 directives?
  • When things escalate, I must remind myself to leave retribution with the Lord. Even if wrong seems to be winning, I can only overcome evil with good.
    Romans 12:19-21 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
  • Meditate on Colossians 3:12-17. Ask for grace to embrace the humility needed to practically apply these verses.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. and always be thankful.”