Another deception to watch out for is indignation and anxiety over the failings, imperfections, even sins, of another! A biggee, and a favorite point of distraction that satan loves to inject, especially in spiritual persons who then set about to right the perceived wrong.
There was an incident in scripture with the two “Sons of Thunder” who noticed that Jesus was not accepted by the crowd, and they wanted to know if it was good to bid fire and brimstone come upon them and consume them! Our Lord rebuked them saying that they did not have the right spirit.
Now these two (James and John) were named thus, no doubt because they were noted for aggressive zeal that new no bounds. They were young disciples at that time, however, and came to understand well, as they grew in the Spirit, the Lord’s ways of treating men. For this same son of thunder, James, wrote that beautiful epistle describing very well that:
Wisdom from above is first of all chaste, then peaceable, moderate, docile, in harmony with good things, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, without dissimulation. The fruit of justice is sown in peace by those who make peace. (Ch. 3:17-18)
Speaking a bit more about distractions, there is a temptation of this sort that Peter faced when he became concerned about another disciple (Jn. 21:21):
Lord, and what of this man? Jesus said to him, “If I wish him to remain until I come, what is it to thee? Do thou follow me.”
Though we may be full of zeal and right intention, it is not always a godly inspiration to be concerned about the affairs, sins, mishaps, of another. Until and unless we are sure of being led by God to concern ourselves, this is a futile distraction designed to upset our spirits and prevent our concentration on other good works of the kingdom. “Do thou follow Me!”
I think we might be alert for the serpent’s tail when we discern whether following what we believe is “inspiration” brings us true peace in carrying it out, even though externally there may be conflict. The suffering, which is real, does not disturb our inner spirit and take away our peace.
St. Teresa of Avila had a very important paragraph about this matter, but I need to look for it before sharing, and I believe it belongs in the “fruit” thread.
God’s peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,