Okay you guys. I’m going to be real with you. I prayed upon what I needed to write per usual and hated the answer. I hated it! I hated the answer because it is something I’m personally struggling with so much at this moment.
Are you ready for the topic of doom? Forgiving someone when they aren’t sorry. Forgiving someone who wrongs you not once, not twice but ten times over. Today I’m going to write about treating someone with kindness when they continually treat you with disrespect. I’m apprehensive because it’s such a difficult topic but I have a feeling this post will be therapeutic for the both of us. Keep reading.
When someone continually disrespects you and you don’t lash back out in disrespect, it can cause you to feel like a sad, little, defenseless punching bag. It hurts. Every single blow hurts and all you want to do is jump out of that punching back and strike back for the kill. Jesus calls us to respond differently. He calls us to respond radically.
Firstly, after the initial blow, he calls us to pause. Self control and patience are two fruits of the spirit. Take these bad boys out of your tool belt during this moment. You’re going to need them. If you have to stay silent for a bit, stay silent. I’ve learned that when dealing with ignorance or difficult people, sometimes silence is the best response. When you are silent during a time of which someone expects you to scream, your deliberate silence speaks volumes. During this pause, whether short or long, check in. How does God desire you to respond?
After you’re done pausing, however long that may be, ask questions. Make sure you understand who and what you’re dealing with. Many times we (as in a whole lot of me) reply with a presumption already in mind. Try your best to understand the other persons point of view. Be open and understanding. If at all possible, try to be flexible. Be gentle but stand firm in truth. This is a delicate balance, my friends. I’ll let you know when I perfect it.
Feeling like a punching bag and feeling like a doormat can often times go hand in hand. I don’t believe God desires us to sit back and allow ourselves to be soiled by the dirty feet walking all over us. When abuse happens, I believe God calls us to respond. He desires us to speak out against mistreatment. It should not be brushed off or pushed aside. Wrong is wrong.
The thing about God is that He judges us by our hearts. This means, if we aren’t speaking out for the right reasons, if we are speaking out to expose someone out of vengeance or to “clear our own slate”, we are not speaking out in truth. If you haven’t forgiven them, don’t speak out before you do. Resentment taints the intent of your heart. Ask God to get rid of it.
This is so, so hard friends. The person you are forgiving may not even care about you. They may hate you. They may seek to intentionally harm you or your character. They may hurt an innocent person that you love. Striking back is the easiest defense mechanism. Truly, it is. But if we know who loves us, if we remember our identity, we don’t need validation from men! Amen to that!
I talk about identity a lot but that’s really what everything comes down to. When we remember who we are, we can easily identify mistreatment but also, because of who we are, it equips us to react differently. That doesn’t mean it won’t be hard and painful and sometimes messy. It’s sacrificial. It hurts. Faith hurts. Killing someone with kindness can feel like it is killing you. However, take heart dear one, because scripture says that His power is made perfect in our weakness! It is HIS power that enables us to do this, not our own.
His power enables us to be slow to anger, to think about our response and to respond in an unexpected way….and Lord knows that I desperately need His strength to do this.
So when you start to feel like a battered old punching bag, remember Who is in your corner. Trust Him. You may feel powerless and without Him, quite frankly you are. He is the one that will give you the strength and gusto to get through this thing gracefully and to forgive the seemingly unforgivable, just as He has forgiven you. This battle is tiring. Rest in Him.
Although you may not come out unscathed, although the path may not always seem clear; walking fearlessly in faith is the first brave step. It takes courage to fight back differently. Stay strong. Fight fearlessly. Let it go. Press on. You’re free to love.