Doing this can introduce evil into any relationship …

The most direct way for someone to be devalued in our lives is for them to behave in some way — especially toward us — that we don’t like.

That’s because most of us have schemes for how to use the people in our lives, whether those are people we have relationships with, fellowship with, or should be unified with.

You may not have thought of yourself as being a schemer, but most of us are. We play out in our minds what we want from any particular person in our lives, and then seek to get just that. We want people to turn into reality in our lives the schemes we’ve played out in our minds

That is a scheme, and the Bible tells us to stop scheming against each other …

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other,” Zachariah 7:9-10.

While some schemes may be entirely positive in nature, many have scenarios for how that person will lose value to you if they disappoint you in bringing about the scheme you have for them. There’s a level of evil in that kind of scheming, as it values people only on what they will do for you.

God hates such evil scheming …

“The Lord detests evil plans, but he delights in pure words,” Proverbs 15:26.

“There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family,” Proverbs 6:16-19.

Expecting people to perform the schemes we have crafted for them is the opposite of the single way Jesus taught us to approach anyone, which is to love them!

To obey Christ is to stop scheming against others and simply love them!

Is that how you’re treating others? Who do you have schemes for? How do you need to change your behavior so that the first and primary posture you have toward anyone is one of love?