Read Psalm 35:1-28
They’re Out To Get You
Harass these hecklers, God, punch these bullies in the nose.
Grab a weapon, anything at hand; stand up for me!
Get ready to throw the spear, aim the javelin,
at the people who are out to get me.
Reassure me; let me hear you say,
“I’ll save you.”
I used to say, half-jokingly, to a ministry partner, “Man, you’re paranoid.” And his typical reply was, “That’s only because people are out to get me.”
The truth is, people are out to get you. That’s not paranoia, it’s just a fact of life. If you are breathing, you probably have a few enemies. I came to grips with that reality many years ago. There are some people who just don’t like me—for no particular reason. And somewhere along the way, you, too, would do well to accept that.
But it still stinks when you experience their dislike. And sometimes their dislike of you rises to proportions that create very real difficulty and serious disruption in your life. David was experiencing that, and he wrote about it in this psalm. We don’t know exactly from whom it was coming or why they had unleashed their nastiness on him in the form of anger, gossip, conniving and back-stabbing. And even though he had tried to be cordial and helpful to them (Psalm 35:12-14), they were bent on ruining his life.
So David unleashed on them—in the form of a prayer. And that is the real secret to dealing with the nasty people in your life. You will rarely win by going after them in kind. Anger, manipulation, gossip, face-to-face verbal showdowns, or force of will never have the effect of persuading them to lay down their weapons or suddenly seeing the error of their way and acknowledging that after all, you truly are God’s gift to humanity.
But prayer, however, works wonders. It puts your enemy squarely in the hands of the only one who can do anything about them—God. Prayer enables you to drain the poison that is building up in your own life so it doesn’t debilitate you. Prayer allows you to pour out your complaint to God—and a funny thing usually happens when you’re doing that: As you are asking God to change the people who are causing you grief, God usually changes you. And best of all, prayer unleashes God’s power to bring about his plan for your situation—and that always has a far better outcome than your plan would have.
Yes, people are after you. That’s life! Take it to God. That’s wisdom!
“In order to have an enemy, one must be somebody. One must be a force before he can be resisted by another force. A malicious enemy is better than a clumsy friend.”
—Anne Sophie Swetchine