When I was a young Bondo, there was a young man at our church who seemed to perpetually get under the skin of the adults. My mother, who was always kind and considerate, confided to me one day that just the very sight of this kid aggravated her. I could tell this bothered her.
There are people who on a subconscious, personal level that we don’t readily perceive, provoke negative emotional responses. Personality conflict. “Just not my kind of person.”
We used to refer to this phenomenon as someone “pushing your buttons.” Our family, friends, and those who know us well will push our buttons. Whether for revenge, mischief, motivation, frustration, or some other reason- those who know how to annoy us will. And we often reciprocate. It’s wrong, but fairly common in normal relationships. We are imperfect people, after all.
I myself have reached a point in my life where I am able to practice ideas like acceptance, forgiveness, and context. I still get aggravated with people for sure, but I am able to quickly “let it go.” Live and let live.
I hear people from time to time express a sincere desire to do physical harm to someone- such as wanting to hit them, beat them up, or worse. I rarely get those feelings- which I tend to chalk up to age and maturity rather than some great display of character on my part.
That is why it bothered me recently when I had such an urge. I was watching a video of a speech by US Rep. Ilhan Omar. As I watched, the tone of her voice, the expressions on her face, and her overall attitude made me feel like I wanted to slap her across the mouth.
There are other people in the news and on social media that have this effect on large groups of people. Right now you will see this sort of phenomenon surrounding Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Colin Kaepernick, and Jussie Smollett, among others. Did you ever wonder why two freshman representatives, a former second-rate football player, and a third-rate actor push our buttons? Because it is by design. They are professional button-pushers.
They are agent provocateur.
These agents do NOT provoke us because they are constantly on TV and the internet- they are constantly in our face because they provoke us. On that subconscious, primal level- you want to slap them across the mouth. Or worse.
Their purpose is to make you angry. Their mission is to distract you. They are here to STEAL YOUR JOY!
Colossians 3:21- Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
This is the spiritual war. If they can piss you off, they win. That is the purpose of the agent provocateur. Anger leads down the road to more and greater negativity, like hate and violence. Fear pushes out love.
Matthew 5:44- But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
The villain is a powerful tool. If they are outrageous and offensive enough, they can completely overwhelm you emotionally, steer your focus away from the target, and cause you to defeat yourself.
There are also variants and reversals of the provocateur. They use people who are on “our side” to try to embarrass, shame, and ridicule your beliefs. Remember Tim Tebow? They tried to create a disingenuous, laughable caricature out of someone who was proud to display his beliefs, in order to cause you to be ashamed of Christians.
How about Kim Davis? You may remember her as the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on religious grounds. In a country of over 300 million people, with tens of thousands of licensing authorities, there were hundreds of clerks who objected to issuing these licenses. But the focus fell on the solitary clerk Kim Davis. Why?
Because she is a provocateur. She dressed old-fashioned and frumpy. She was the caricature of the extremist Salem witch trials looking intolerant pious bitch. She angered the gay marriage supporters, and deterred Christian defenders.
If AOC makes you angry, she wins. If you you spend long hours mad about Kaepernick disrespecting the flag- mission accomplished.
They are controlled slaves, put in place to spread negativity and lies. They should be pitied.
Matthew 6:14-15 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
The agent provocateur has one purpose. If you are not provoked- they lose. Again.