Recently I finished chapter twenty-four of my book. In this part of my story Anthony, Hannah and I are in court, during James' trial, listening to a string of adult witnesses express the fear they held while working for Larissa - my son's past employer and co-defendant.
I wrote how one man in his mid fifties, while sitting in the testimony box, said, “If I had any idea that she was going to be back on the street again, I wouldn't say another word. I'm scared of the woman. I watched myself whenever she was around."
During the chapter re-write I questioned myself - why didn't I discern her evil? I've met others in the past who appear to be upright and genuine but inside my gut something felt wrong. It was as if an internal warning alerted me to be watchful.
So why, when it came to Larissa, didn't the alarms bells ring and the words, "danger, danger, danger ahead" warn me?
After I read the chapter one last time I looked up, "Father, why couldn't I perceive this woman's evil?"
In a tone that felt matter-of-fact and uncondemning I heard,
"Because you are a people pleaser."
I thought: I know I want to please others. But what does that have to do with my ability to discern?
This is the lesson I learned.
When I put myself in the position to need acceptance from someone, my ability to detect the darkness within that person's heart is lowered. It's as if my spiritual cloaking devise drops, leaving me defenseless to the person I want to impress.
I rubbed my temples and bowed my head. "Father, what was it I wanted from Larissa?"
I desired for this highly successful businesswoman to see James as a valuable employee. And, keep him working during his college years in the field of his major.
That's all it took. My senses were dulled and she robbed James' bright future right out from under him.
I never considered how desire can lull people into a situation they can't foresee coming, until now.
In Genesis 4:7 When Yahweh didn't accept Cain's sacrifice, He said to Cain,
"If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
I want to live being pleasing to my Father. Understanding He provides all my needs, keeps me safe and no longer vulnerable.
Let's keep our doors barred and our eyes on Yahweh as He teaches us to do what is right. When an imposter arrives on the scene, the warning bells will sound.