Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 | Author:

  • Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
  • Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
  • Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. (1 Peter 3:13-17)
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)
  • Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
  • The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

These passages, I think, portray the essence of Christianity: taking it on the chin, in the hope that those who wrong us will come to repentance.  But this concept is largely missing in our American culture.  It may even be missing from last week’s discussion about self-defense. What do you think?

As a nation of “free” individuals, when we are wronged we are far more apt to demand our rights, make them pay, and keep score:  he owes me. When we have this attitude, though, we have forgotten our purpose is to lead others to Christ.  We have forgotten our own forgiven sins.  We have forgotten that it’s the kindness of God that led us to repentance. (Rom 2:4)  It is the height of hypocrisy to demand “justice” for our enemies, while accepting payment for our own debts from the cross.

So where do you stand?  Are you keeping score … or are you following the example of our Lord?

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

(1 Timothy 1:15-16)

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7 Responses
  1. Lisa says:

    Not being judgmental is something I work hard on, but I am not the best at it.

    Funny we both chose 1 Timothy today.

  2. jon-paul says:

    Whew!! Well stated and desperately needed for all of us within ‘the flock’ to come to terms with and adjust accordingly. Thematically what you’ve stated is brilliant; however, I also feel that within each citation there are multiple meanings, albeit, metaphorically or to a reader.

    As a Christian person and educator, it is rather obvious that the “Culture” that lives within America (insofar as I wouldn’t refer to this as the American culture) is very, very Christophobic!

    From the Salvation Army person at Walmart, to those given to descreation of anything or everything Christian; moreover, even a president who publically exclaims “America is not a Christian nation…” and not to mention your very well versed perspective on “Rights” above just before the box.

    As for me…I try and try and try…but you know what they say about Christians? You can tell a good ones by the shape of their noses…the flatter the better! In reference to how many times I fall flat on my face before God!

    Great post! Cheers! jps

  3. Renee says:

    Great reminders! I read I Peter yesterday and realized that there is so much on this topic. Here’s another Scripture:

    Matthew 5:44-45
    But I tell you: Love your enemies and PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

  4. SO TRUE!!!!!!! What the heck ever happened to treating the body of Christ as CHRIST?! It gets my blood boiling, this “I have rights” crap that I hear all the time from Christians. The whole world is watching, hypocrites! Can’t you put your pettiness aside?!?!

    Sheesh, see how this bugs me? Already I’m on a roll.

    You know, Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea, and the word Laodicea means literally, “the [human] rights of the people.” Hmm. Sounds to me that this church was fulfilling 1 Timothy 4. :( It all comes down to love of self versus love of Christ.

  5. Jay says:

    Reminds me of a great book I read recently by John Bevere entitled, “What to Do When You Feel Mistreated”. In this book John shared multiple stories of people who gave up their situations to God and He not only worked out their situations, but blessed them SOOOOO abundantly just for giving it up to Him.

    Funny, because I was really thinking about this topic today. Thanks for the EXCELLENT reminder! (It’s one of my favorite Biblical topics to discuss!)

  6. …”taking it on the chin, in the hope that those who wrong us will come to repentance. “…

    Your last two WFW’s show a disturbing trend to knuckling under to the evil in this world.

    While I agree that a Christian should not be quick to take another Christian to court, and should not repay evil for evil, how does one teach righteousness when your display of backbone is missing?

    What does letting oneself be killed teach a murderer? Does one show victory by being defeated? Did Christ give us power over all our enemies Luke 10:19 for naught?

    How do you drive out Satan by letting him win?

    How do you stand for righteousness by letting it be trampled?

    How do you stand for justice by letting injustice prevail?

    How does a house divide stand? Mark 3:25

    How does a Kingdom divided stand? Luke 11:17

    One is either of the House of God and the Kingdom of God and stands for truth, righteousness, justice, love, hope, and does so in faith, or one is not and does not.

    When God returns wielding a rod of iron, Psa. 2:9, Rev. 2:27, Rev. 12:5, and Rev. 19:15, to implement His government, Isa. 9:6-7, and Isa.22:21. He is going to expect those bearing His name to have been representing that government. He will expect His ministers of fire, Hbr. 1:17, to have lighted the fire, Luke 12:49.

    Laying down and being a footstool to to Satan’s minions, being defeated by Satan’s handyfolk, those who cheat and lie and murder and steal, is not lighting a fire, it is not representative of God’s government.

    Ez. 9:3-7 Are you wearing the mark? Are you tired of seeing the injustice? Do you ache because righteousness is trodden under foot?

    Or, do you just want to get along, let the ruler of this age have his way?

    Lukewarm won’t get it done, lukewarm will get you spewed upon the floor, Rev.13:6 and trodden underfoot, Matt. 5:13

  7. akagaga says:

    Thanks, all, for your comments. I’m running behind this week, but hope to get to your posts today!

    @Lisa Not being judgmental is something I think we all struggle with, if we’re truly trying to follow Christ. But struggling is the key, I think. At least you haven’t given in and said, “That’s the way I am,” like so many others do.

    @JP How is it that you always crack me up? I want to see that flat nose of yours! :)

    @Renee How did I miss that scripture? Thanks! You’re right, there’s a ton on this topic. So what are we to do about our enemies? Suffer, bless, feed, pray, show patience. This attitude is what truly sets us apart from the world.

    @Mrs. M The “I have rights” mantra clearly doesn’t come from the Bible, and I think you’re correct that it comes from a love of self. If we aren’t willing to put the salvation of others before our own “rights,” what kind of Christians are we?

    @Jay Aarrgghhh!!! You’ve added another book to my reading list. I’ll never get caught up! :)

    @AKA This is an interesting perspective. We obviously don’t agree, but let me offer a comment on some of your questions.

    how does one teach righteousness when your display of backbone is missing?
    What does letting oneself be killed teach a murderer?
    How do you drive out Satan by letting him win?
    How do you stand for justice by letting injustice prevail?
    do you just want to get along, let the ruler of this age have his way?

    Every one of these questions could also be asked of Jesus, AKA. Have you questioned Him about this? Have you asked Him why His ways seem so foreign to our flesh? Have you asked Him why He is kind to ungrateful and evil men? (Luk 6:35) Do you know why we are instructed to overcome evil with good? (Rom 12:21) to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil? (Rom 16:19)

    Instead of just attacking me and trying to justify your position, I pray that you will take these thoughts to the Lord and let Him have His way. Here are a couple other scriptures that may help you understand. You are in my prayers, my friend.

    For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

    I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges.REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)