I don’t know about you Christian, but here’s one fundamental of The Way that I struggle with immensely…
Heavenly rewards are obtained through self sacrifice and not through self defense.
There are times when I feel as if the whole world is tugging at me. Someone asks for this, or someone needs that. I can completely let this consume me, and I can become filled with anger/irritation. What makes it even worse is if someone comes at me with a bad attitude or is confrontational. Automatically I feel defensive and feel as if I need to seek vengeance or plot my revenge. I constantly need to keep reminding myself that God did not create me for the purpose of having a “vengeful spirit”, and that it is Satan who gives me a “nudge”.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them. (Deuteronomy 32:35)
O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself. (Psalm 94:1)
Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” (Proverbs 24:29)
Does this mean as a Christian to be a “pushover”? Well what is a “pushover”? Here’s what Webster’s Dictionary says…
Pushover: an opponent who is easy to defeat or a victim who is capable of no effective resistance.
When God tells us that vengeance is His does this mean we are defeated or we have no effective resistance? NO, instead this means that if we don’t seek revenge and subdue our desire for vengeance God will work all things out for our good if we give it all to Him. So what happens when we do give in to our temptation to seek vengeance and revenge by trying to take someone down who is trying to elevate themselves above us in an authoritative, maybe an aggressive, or even a confrontational manner? Well, this means we are taking things into our own hands and we all know what happens when we do this. We tell God with our actions that… “I’m in control and You are not.”
We also reap what we sow. If you’re always quick to defend and position yourself so you’re the attacker instead of being attacked then you will forever be stuck in this vicious cycle and you will continue to get attacked. How did Christ promote change to break the chains of hatred in a world of constant self promotion and self elevation? By being selfless, meek, and mild. Serving…instead of serving Himself. Knowing he had power, but not “flexing” that power for personal gain. When we approach these types of difficult situations with complete humility we “flex” the fact that God has total power and control and that power and control will work things out for us.
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…
Easier said than done.