I have been on the receiving end of a lot of rude behavior in my life. Now that I love Jesus, I wonder how I am to handle these rude encounters. I know we are to turn the other cheek and all, but when somebody does something directly offensive to you…repeatedly…to the point that there is absolutely no respect for you, your family or your property, then what?
Does being a follower of Jesus mean I am to be a doormat, allowing anyone & everyone to treat me as they choose and simply smile and walk away?
There is a specific incident that I am referring to from my own perspective. While I usually attempt to be very direct with my posts, I am intentionally being vague as to avoid “pointing fingers.” However, I will add just one more tidbit of information. The offenders who have me seriously upset are church people, (let me clarify that they are not from my church people). The reason that this is incredibly relevant is that as I watch this continued offense unfold before my very eyes, I wonder if this is the way they treat all people? Are they at the local grocery store showing a general lack of respect for others, acting as though they deserve preference?
**I had typed to this point as of yesterday…while the offense was taking place. Then I took a break because I was very aggravated and needed to change courses in my mind before I unloaded. That’s when I found my way to Lysa TerKeurst‘s page. The Lord really has a way of guiding us when we pause. The title of her post I came across, “And I had the perfect comeback.” In it she describes an incident on a flight where a couple is incredibly rude to her and her friends. Below is the exert that spoke to me in my circumstances:
Have you ever wanted to put your Christianity on a shelf and be as mean to someone as they are being to you? You know, just let loose and seriously break bad on somebody.
Maybe not, because you are nice. And most of the time, I am too. But in this moment I didn’t want to apply a single bit of my own “Unglued” advice. I won’t tell you what I wanted to say but I can assure you it didn’t involve being kind or gentle.
But this is the exact point where I had to make a choice.
A choice of who I wanted to partner with in this situation…God or Satan.
If I chose to go the route of anger, harsh comebacks, and retaliation, I would have basically stepped into Satan’s camp and caused conflict escalation. If, however, I chose to go the route of gentleness and grace, I would be partnering with God and would continue to make progress with my raw emotions. Like Philippians 3:16 reminds me, “Only let us live up to what we’ve already attained.”
And there that is! I was amazed at God’s perfect timing once again. I do not believe that God wants us to take abuse from anyone, so please understand that this is not what I am referring to. I am referencing those agitating offenses that we are guaranteed to face from family, friends and complete strangers. Yes, at the time it may seem like a major ordeal that requires us to puff out our chests and give them a serious tongue lashing. But when you pause and look at the big picture, is it worth blowing your witness to “go off” like a crazed person?! As Lysa put it, “Why would I want to trade the peace of partnering with God for a few cheap moments of putting someone else in their place?”
Thank you, Lysa, for your sound, biblical advice once again. And a special shout out to Jesus for keeping your hand over my mouth and leading me to your truth once again.