Do you have a passive resistive person in your life?
The fourth difficult person is the people-oriented passive resistive. He is inactive and immovable. The fact that he is people-oriented, means that he can be averse to task and be nice about it. Consequently, his passive resistance makes him indirect in his difficult behavior — on the surface we might not immediately recognize his negative conflict.
He primarily focuses on his desire for contentment which literally means “held together.” This is directly correlated to his spirit, his window to the mystical world which allows him to keep it together amidst immediate conflict in the physical realm. Unfortunately, this is divorced from and at the expense of those around him. In his difficult behavior, he attempts to satisfy his desire for contentment apart from Christ. The relaxed, passive resistive stubbornly attempts to hold himself together in order to satisfy his desire for contentment. The passive resistive portrays at least four difficult characteristics: (1) avoiding conflict at all costs, (2) lack of initiative — searching for the easy routine, (3) slowness (to change, to process, and to commit), and (4) stubborn pride — internally demanding respect and honor.
The passive resistive avoids conflict at all costs. Conflict is two objects attempting to occupy the same space at the same time. The one thing the passive resistive will do quickly is run from conflict. However, this perpetuates negative conflict due to his unwillingness to address any perceived tension. King Solomon referred to the passive resistive as a sluggard: “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion on the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!'” (Proverbs 26:13). The passive resistive sees potential conflict as a lion roaming loose on the streets, ready to devour him.
The passive resistive lacks initiative. He wants life to be easy, or free from conflict; therefore, he starts few new tasks. Sometimes, he even resists beginning a new day. Solomon gave us clear imagery: “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed” (Proverbs 26:14). The door turning on its hinges represents the, oftentimes, negative routine of the passive resistive who might see himself as being in a groove when really he is in a rut.
The passive resistive is slow — slow to change, slow to process, and slow to commit. That’s why some Bible translations substitute slothful for sluggard. A sloth is a lazy, furry animal about the size of a common housecat found in South America and the West Indies. His name stems from his slow motion, often hanging upside-down in the tree for hours. Solomon pegged the slowness of the passive resistive: “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15).
Internally, the passive resistive demands respect and honor because he proudly sees himself as wise. Solomon taught: “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly” (Proverbs 26:16). The king also declared: “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12). The Hebrew word for fool in this verse is kesil, meaning stupid — one who repeats the same gullible behavior.
Read through the four characteristics of the passive resistive, each day, this week. Ask the Holy Spirit if you are exhibiting any passive resistive behavior in your relationships. If so, surrender your negative conflict to Him and take a first step toward restoration by confessing your resistance to those experiencing the consequences of your stubborn inaction. If someone else in your life is passive resistive, begin to pray for that person everyday. God will use you to bring initiative to the relationship.