The air was becoming “tense,” as the argumentative person’s voice had become a bit louder. His physical gestures were becoming more rapid and deliberate, and he sat on the edge of his chair. The group did not pursue the Hebrew nor the Aramaic translations as things unraveled rather quickly.
I reminded the brothers (but more directly toward the argumentative one) that our exchange was not about arguing, though I felt he desired to argue. In fact, I thanked the brother for sticking to his guns about the translation because I was now forced to do more of a study of the book of James to ensure I understood the context of the scriptures contained within and so that I could look more closely at the various translations [NOTE TO READERS: I actually am a teacher by calling and training. As a result, I like learning. So, conversations that challenge my present-level of understanding about a topic near to my heart are good for me. My response to such conversations is to go and LEARN more for the sake of gaining UNDERSTANDING. Inevitably, the Holy Spirit gives me the understanding I seek at the time He deems appropriate.].
This brother was not listening to anything that seemed rationale/reasonable; spiritual viewpoints were off the table, too. I quietly and slowly dismissed myself from the table, as I needed to sort my clothes in preparation for doing laundry the next day. So, the conversation at the table continued. As I walked away, one of the brothers asked me whether or not he should chime in. I told him I thought it best to leave the situation alone. He nodded in half agreement as though to say, “It’s probably best.”
The one-sided debate continued for a few minutes more when I heard the argumentative brother–still supporting “works” as measurement for pleasing God through religious practices–use “good” and “bad” people and the things they do as support for his arguments. I thought this an odd viewpoint considering that only the Lord truly defines that which is good. At this point, I chimed in stating that we must be mindful when considering that particular view, for the Word tells us that our righteousness is like filthy rags, which is the condensed/paraphrased version of Isaiah 64:6 (“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”). My attempt was to say that none of our works are wholly good unless they are directed and blessed by the Lord. Well, that one statement opened the door for what happened next.
This dude (spirit) becomes loud! He says to me, “You’re rude! I’ve let you talk. Now, you want to cut me off; you’re rude!!! You know what you are? You’re passive-aggressive!” There’s utter silence in the room other than the sound of his voice. Everyone around the table and onlookers (yes, this was a public display) looked around and at one another bewildered. At this point, this person has slammed his Bible shut and has gotten out of his seat walking towards me. I recognized THAT spirit with certainty; it was Jezebel!