Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Under Attack

As I read the Psalms I’m reminded again of the valuable lesson we can learn from King David’s example. So often in his life people, even close friends and family, were against him, falsely accusing him, not giving him an opportunity to defend himself.

Vile and hateful verbal attacks, false accusations and a refusal to give one an opportunity to respond, can hurt much deeper than a physical blow, however, we learn from David’s life that he turned to the Lord in times like these. “He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” (Psalm 62:2)

When someone throws thorns at you, you can choose to catch them and bleed, or you can choose to put up a shield causing those hurtful thorns to fall to the ground without doing any harm. The Word of God is our shield. When indecent and hateful words, and even lies, are spoken against us, we can turn to His Word, and meditate on it, giving us the strength to not respond in kind, but rather in love.

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

“Avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.” (2 Timothy 2:23)

It is also important to realize that it is not worth it to entertain other people’s hateful tirades at the expense of your own soul. We do not have to sit silently and take the verbal and emotional abuse of others, nor do we have to seek its presence. It is futile and even dangerous to willfully hang around hateful people, listen to their irrational attacks, and run the risk of getting drawn into an ugly dispute, especially if the person is unwilling to have a calm conversation about the issues and unwilling to listen.

“If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them.” (Titus 3:10, ESV)

“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Proverbs 13:20)

Ultimately we must be able to forgive. God promises that when we come to Him asking for forgiveness, He freely grants it (1 John 1:9). The forgiveness we extend should know no limits, in the same way that God's forgiveness is limitless (Luke 17:3-4). Even if the other person does not come to repentance and ask us for forgiveness, we can come to a place where we sincerely forgive the offender in our heart.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

What should our verbal response be? Jesus gave clear instruction in this matter when He said, “Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you .” (Matthew 5:44)

In summary:
1.  Do not strive to defend yourself— God is your Vindicator and He knows the truth.
2,  Turn to the Word of God and meditate on it.
3.  Do not unnecessarily entertain the poisonous words of others—Your ear is not a trash can.
4.  Forgive as God forgives us.
5.  If you must speak, speak words of love, kindness, and blessing.

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