Have you ever been offended by something someone has done or has said? What responses can a child of God give that would not jeopardize their testimony? It seems like others often interpret our Christianity as a sign of weakness and we will find ourselves in situations that test our character, our will and our ability to respond.
Truthfully, sometimes we feel like it is safer to take the humble, “I will let you trample me” mode because it preserves what we feel is the right “moral approach”. How do the scriptures support our decision making when we are hurt and maligned? How deep does the “turn the other cheek” philosophy really get?
Proverbs 25:26 says, “When a good person gives in to the wicked it’s like dumping garbage in a stream of clear water”.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Matthew 26:52-53 says, “…but Jesus told him, Put your sword away. Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting. Don’t you know that I could ask my Father, and right away he would send more than twelve armies of angels?
In Proverbs, we are reminded that there is something that is almost staining to our souls and we allow evil to have its place. We are holy and righteous we are God’s people. We are not to succumb to evil or to give it a higher place.
In 1 Peter, we are encouraged to stay on guard. We are to be pre-emptive in our dealing with those who are not pushing us closer to God. Be on guard. The Devil is coming to make life difficult and to devour us and that attack sometimes comes in the form of insults and offenses that cause us to second-guess ourselves and in some cases our King. In Matthew, Jesus is being physically handled by the Roman Guards before his crucifixion. In defense of their Leader, one of the disciples pulls out a sword. Jesus reminds him of his place in God. He is already protected and has an authority that his attackers don’t have.
We are often brought to a place where enough is enough. When we are tarnished by others, you are no “less” of a Christian by speaking up for yourself and confronting your accusers. You are a child of God. You are backed by the highest authority the universe has to offer. Jesus encourages us to turn the other cheek. Yet when He was literally smacked in the face he didn’t encourage them (his abusers) to do it again. He addressed them head on, He challenged them and He stood his ground (read John 18:19-23). When Jesus saw that they were gambling in the Temple of God he confronted them and threw them out with a whip! The bible doesn’t say he hit them with it but he sure did get his point across (Read Matthew 21:12).
When enough is enough then believers must stand up for themselves. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Use these gifts that God has given and boldly approach those who are speaking against you. You may not change their minds. You may not have a positive end result. Yet you are never to cower in the face of your opponents. Jesus didn’t hide or let things go and neither should you.
- What situations or people in your life cause you the most grief?
- How do your responses reflect you as a Christian?
- Are their areas that you have dismissed in your life that needs an “enough is enough” approach?
- How do the scriptures above address your own personal conflicts?