Earlier this week I had a rather interesting exchange with a few individuals who weren’t of the faith. That’s not a problem, us Believers are a rare species these days. I feel exotic, I feel so unique saying so freely and so openly that I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That’s how rare we are. These days it’s like…Jesus who?
I had a slight misunderstanding with some fellow business partners where I felt the need to stand up for myself in defense of my faith. Now, it was all a misunderstanding but it still got me thinking; was I right to stand up for myself like that? Should I have ‘turned the other cheek’? I thought, maybe I was too harsh or maybe I hurt that person’s feelings. But then I hardened up a bit and realized, no way.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV
Most people quote this scripture when they’re talking about order within a ministry or even their personal life, but I’m talking in context of when it is right and when it is wrong for you to take a stand for your faith. So many Christians believe they should ‘turn the other cheek’ [Matthew 5:39 KJV] when faced with confrontation or debate. I respectfully disagree. Why? Because there is a time for everything. There is a time to be humble and a time to take a stand.
Not every time requires action but being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. Yes, Jesus was humble. Yes, Jesus was the kindest, most sincere person in the world, but even He defended himself and his Father’s name. He challenged the Scribes and the Pharisees when they pressed Him with questions [John 8:7 KJV] He defended himself and his disciples when the Pharisees questioned him about following tradition [Mark 7:5-8 KJV] and He even defended those words when the disciples approached him and said that He had offended the Pharisees [Matthew 15:12-13 KJV].
Jesus wasn’t giving us permission to go around insulting others and ticking people off. He was demonstrating a good and proper way to defend yourself and your beliefs. I am so tired of being told to ignore the sly comments and the rude remarks—and we’ve all heard them. Bible Thumper, Jesus Freak, Holy Roller, and so many more. Honestly, I’m proud to be called what I am. I am a Jesus Freak, I am crazy about Christ. But I will not always keep quiet when faced with conflict.
Let me put it plainly because I feel like my words can be easily misinterpreted at this point. I am not saying we as Christians should start fights with the unsaved. I’m not saying that we should pop off at every insult thrown our way. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t lay down and become doormats just because we are Christians. We should not feel guilty about taking a stand or saying enough is enough. We should know when to become strong and when to take a step back. We should know when it’s all right to speak up about our concerns and to voice our opinion.
Many Christians feel afraid to be open about their beliefs. Especially at a time where traditional beliefs are viewed as closed-minded. Where morals are boring and standards are discriminatory. It is hard to be so open and so vocal. When I was in college we had many debates about gay marriage, abortion and legalizing marijuana. In a classroom full of “free-thinking” kids coming down from their Mary-Jane high, how was I supposed to say so freely and so boldly that I didn’t support gay marriage or abortion?
Well, I learned there was a time and place for everything. I spent time with the Lord, I got to know Him on a deeper level and I found that God’s Will wasn’t always for me to charge in and start screaming scriptures and whacking people over the head with a King James Bible. While that may serve for some good old fashioned stereotypical fun, it isn’t right. We ought to know when to hold our tongue. We ought to know which fights to pick and choose.
Love is supposed to be our greatest commandment, we can’t demonstrate that if we’re always arguing. On the contrary, love requires strength and we should be able to discern when it is right to use that strength.
If you pick up anything from this post it’s that you should think before you speak and especially before you act. Beyond that, you should always pray and consult God. Sometimes we can’t help it, our anger takes over. But that’s where Jesus comes in. In every situation, give yourself over to Him and He will guide you to the right decision. He will give you the right words to say and the right tone to say them with.
Proverbs 15:1 KJV “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Proverbs 16:24 KJV “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
These scriptures are great examples of the effects our words can have on others, whether they are Believers or not. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, choose your words wisely. I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s not that we should walk on eggshells, but that we should think and remember how our words will not only reflect us as an individual but as a Christian. We are models for Christ, we represent God on High. When people see us they are supposed to see Jesus within us—whether we are in the midst of confrontation or not.
I hope this helped tame some of those flaming tongues as well as encourage those who felt they weren’t strong enough to stand up for themselves. Again, don’t go starting drama but remember that you don’t always have to back away from it. Listen to Jesus, when you’re in tune with Him, He guides your steps and even if you’re presented with a battle it’s never one you cannot win.