Crunch Time--Part 2: Doormat?

 It’s Crunch Time—Part 2


If first, you don’t succeed, do not give up! My original blog entry for “It’s Crunch Time—Part 2” [as I wrote before] was somehow deleted. I have rewritten the blog, as I promised, concerning a Biblical response to conflict resolution. 

While believers are grafted into the Body of Christ, they can still disagree with each other and with nonbelievers. Some of the Scriptures dealing with conflict resolution are so well-known that they are now part of everyday speech. “An eye for an eye,” “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and “turn the other cheek” are all well-known phrases. 

Unfortunately, these Scriptures are sometimes taken out of context. The idea that the “perfect Christian” is supposed to be a quiet, mousy doormat that acquiesces to indignities and evil doings has developed from a misunderstanding and misapplications of the Scriptures.

It is true that the Lord told believers to be willing to suffer personally for the cause of Christ. Luke 6:29 states, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do of withhold your tunic either.” Jesus also said that believers had to take up their cross to follow Him.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? [Matthew 16:24-26].

God desires to make us like Jesus. He uses the situations and difficulties we face in life to achieve that end. However, how we act in various situations depends on what He desires to accomplish in and through us at that point in time. 

God does want us to be peaceable. In Mathew 5:9 God says that the peacemakers will be called “sons of God.” In Galatians 5:22, the Apostle Paul contrasts the fruits of the Spirit, which we are to cultivate to the works of the flesh. One of these fruits [or character qualities] we are to cultivate is peace. 

The quest for peace does not mean that we lay down and passively accept events. If it depends on our actions, words, and behaviors, we are to enter act peacefully with everyone we meet. If it is possible, we are to be at peace with those around us. We don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves; we are not easily offended. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans and said, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peacefully with all” [Romans 12:18]. God desires us to show kindness, understanding, gentleness, and love of Christ to others from a position of strength as members of his ecclesia, not because we are weak.

As believers we do not automatically capitulate in a situation; we do practice self-control. We don’t let our emotions and mouth get us in trouble before we respond to the events and the actions of others; God expects us to conquer our own emotions and thoughts.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human[ anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness [James 1:19-20, emphasis mine].

We are not to allow our tongues to enflame a situation [James 3:1-12]. Instead, we are to carefully use our words to bring rational calm to a heated situation.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing [Proverbs 12:18].

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger... A gentle tongue is a tree of life Proverbs 15:1, 4a].

God desires us to show kindness, understanding, gentleness, self-control, and the love of Christ to others. However, this does not mean that a believer is never allowed to protest or combat any form of mistreatment. The Lord told us to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might; He never wanted believers to be door mats.

Biblical peace means more than an absence of conflict. We are not to accept evil to have peace. Peace does not accept evil. True peace refers to wholeness, total health, tranquility, the restoration of relationships, wholeness, unity, and the action necessary to achieve wholeness and unity. We must understand that peace exists in an active state. It is not passive inaction that creates rest for the soul and spirit.

Secondly, Christians should know when they are to get in involved with making a judgment call and when they are not. We are never to be “busybodies” or get involved in conflicts just to show off our ideas. God considers the role of a judge to be a serious responsibility. Jesus warns us that if we set ourselves up as judges, we will be judged in the same way that we judge others [Matthew 7:1-29].

Nevertheless, at times we as human beings must judge others; yet we must learn when to judge and when to extend grace. Our “judging” others may be as simple and as wrong as forming a private opinion about how a person should have acted in a situation. It may be a proper, public pronouncement if we are called upon by society to pass an official legal opinion as a judge or a member of a jury. As employers, we judge the work of employees, and as parents, we judge our children’s behavior.

The difference between righteous and unrighteous judgments is based on three things:

1. Our heart attitude. Do we assume we are better than those we are judging? Do we benefit from the judgment we make? In other words, do we benefit monetarily, mentally, emotionally, or any other “ally” from the judgment we pass? Beware of those that begin with,

  •  “Oh, I would never…”
  • I can’t believe she [or he] could …”
  • Well, I know he [or she] should have…”

If we have the desire to gossip about the situation, we probably are judging wrongly and have a wrong attitude about the situation.

2.    Our area of authority. Do we have God-given authority to judge the situation? Parents can judge and discipline children, judges and juries can pass judgments on cases tried in their jurisdiction, and overseers in a local church can chastise believers in their local body to help them mature in Christ. Employers can fire poor workers or increase the salaries of excellent employees.

3.     My position. Am I upset with this person or situation and want to condemn them because it reminds me of my own sin? If so, I need to step out of the situation and go before God to confess my sin and ask for God’s cleansing and restoration. To evaluate your position and correctness in judging a situation, I must be able to answer the following question with a yes.

  •  Is my participation in this judgment appropriate?
  • Has God assigned the job of judging this situation to me [as a supervisor must judge the work of an employee working under her]? [In other words, do I have jurisdiction in this situation?]
  • Can I help solve the problem or resolve the conflict by participating in this situation?
  • Will this act of judgment bring glory to God by honoring Him and His commands?

If our attitude is right, our emotions are submitted to God, and we stand in the position before God, we must judge in a Biblically based manner. We do not pass judgment with glee or in a vengeful manner, but soberly, realizing that it is only God’s grace that keeps us from being the one facing judgment.

We must also understand that sometimes we are to act boldly, even radically.

Since I need to explain this statement more fully, I will continue this later.  Look for “Crush Time” Part 3–Training to Reign


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