There is an incorrect thought process among so many Christians that we should just lay down and take whatever the world is going to throw at us in the name of being nice. In this story, Paul clearly shares the Gospel with the people who want to harm him, but he also uses his knowledge of the law and appeals to the government as a Roman citizen. How do we be kind people, but also wise people? How do we be a Christian and not a doormat?
We have scriptures talking about turning the other cheek, living peacefully and loving our enemies.
You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
But we also have scriptures talking about putting on the spiritual armor of God and being ready for battle.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
So which is it?
It’s not one or the other, ITS BOTH. You can live peacefully, love your neighbor and turn the other cheek while wearing the full armor of God and still be ready to fight those spiritual battles and withstand the evil one. It’s better to be a warrior in the garden, than a gardener in a war. There is this tensioned rope that has to have balance to it, pull too hard to one side and we lose the other, keep it right in the middle and all is well.
ULTIMATELY: God comes first!
Our obedience, our worship and our relationship with Him comes before everything.
And though we are to live in peace with the world AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN, there are going to be times where we may have to DISOBEY OUR FAMILY, DISOBEY OUR BOSS’s, and even DISOBEY OUR WORLDLY AUTHORITY’s in order for us to 100% OBEY OUR ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY which is God!
And in these circumstances you can’t just be a doormat, you have to stand up for your faith and the Gospel Message.
There are times you may have to be a Moses for your friends or maybe even your enemies.
There are times you may have to be a Paul and stand up for yourself.
You have to be a Christian, not a doormat, even if at the end of the day these things lead to earthy punishments, or maybe even the loss of a friend or family out of your life, or a job loss, or maybe even your life lost.
When should we stand up?
When it can further the Kingdom by sharing the Gospel
When its morally incorrect/unfair IE: Paul being a roman citizen and being bound and beaten (my boss has a saying don’t go to him unless what someone in the workplace is telling you is illegal/immoral) He doesn’t want drama, he wants peace.
When we are in a position to do these things in a kind, loving, Godly and wise way.
How do we do this in a kind, loving and wise way?
Know who you are
Know your calling
Know Whom you are doing this for – GOD
Paul knew who he was, he knew what his calling was and what he was to do on this earth, and he knew Whom he was doing it for, THE LORD.
Do you know?
What side of the rope do you lean on?
Are you someone who is too passive?
Are you someone who is too aggressive?
Do you lean on the side of Matthew 5 and turn the other cheek and love your enemies even in times we could use our love and wisdom to further the Gospel / Kingdom, are you staying to quiet and maybe forgetting to wear all the armor pieces talked about in Ephesians 6?
Do you lean too heavily on pieces of the armor of God and are always ready to fight? You might be wearing the belt of truth, helmet of salvation and sword of the spirit and be ready to attack anything, but are you forgetting to wear the gospel of peace shoes and loving your enemies and striving to live peacefully?
I might be the kind of person who is too passive and doesn’t stand up against opposition.
I will learn how to stand up to opposition in a Loving way.
I will humbly ask people around me, who I trust, if I respond well to opposition around me or not.