When You Want to Fight Back | Part Two
When should a Christian fight? What about turning the other cheek? Am I wrong to fight? But what about when the Apostle Paul says a Christian is to fight the good fight?
In part one, I told the story of a girl who had been hurt by someone and how she was ready to start fighting. Read part one, When You Want to Fight Back, Part One.
In order to answer the questions at the beginning of these posts we need to take a look at some examples in scripture. Hosea was a faithful prophet who was given the responsibility to preach an unsavory message to a rebellious people. To better show what God was trying to tell them through Hosea, God commanded him to marry a prostitute and endure the pain of an unfaithful relationship.
What was Hosea’s reward?
The book of Hosea says very little about his actual personal life. We really don’t know if his wife ever came to return his love or if any of the people ever came back to God. I would like to think so, but whether or not these problems were resolved, Hosea had assurance of a reward that made it worth it. Not easy, but worth it.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”– Luke 6: 37-38 (NLT)
When we forgive, we are forgiven. When we give, we receive back with as much genuineness as we gave. Jesus is specific in his terminology, using language the people would understand. Like a merchant measuring spice for a customer in a market place, our reward is “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” More than enough. Our reward, when we love our enemies, do good to them with no hope of return, pray for them, will be generous. It will be more than enough to compensate for our loss and pain.
Does it make our difficulty any easier?
That’s the hardest part, isn’t it? Rarely does doing the right thing come easy but anything worth doing takes work. We have the assurance as Hosea did that we won’t have to go it alone. We will have the power to do it when we trust God to show us how. Never underestimate what God can and will do through you.
I understand it but I can’t possibly imagine doing it.
Even the most faithful Christian will find some of God’s teaching too hard for them. That’s because our natural thinking is entirely different from God’s (Isaiah 55:8). It is a continual struggle against the flesh to come about to God’s way of thinking.
What we have to do when God’s teaching doesn’t make sense is pray: Pray that God will show us how to obey such a hard thing. We need to be honest with Him; He can handle anything we dish out. And then we need to continue to read. Read the hard scripture and read corresponding passages. If we genuinely want to obey God, He’ll know it and He will show us how.
Do we ever fight?
Paul talks about Christian’s fighting the fight of faith in 1 Timothy 6:12 and 2 Timothy 4:7. A Christian’s responsibility is to fight. What are we fighting? We fight evil by fighting it with good. We must always keep our guard up towards evil. Sometimes that means doing the reverse of our natural tendencies.
“If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.”– Proverbs 25:21-22 (NLT)
There are times, however, when we should stand up and fight with more active methods. Such as verbalizing our disagreement, or in extreme cases that involve danger, defending ourselves or those we love physically. Israel’s history is a testament to that – there were many times when God told them to make war on the enemy. But this kind of method is rarely what God requires of His children today.
Examine your motives
If you’re desire is to get the better of the other person, to see them pay for what they did to you, then you won’t be able to understand what is said here. It is not our job to exact vengeance (Romans 12:19). Instead, try to see the bigger picture.
Identify what you are really fighting
You’re anger may be directed toward the person who hurt you, and they are definitely responsible for their actions, but the bigger fight is not earthly. What we are really fighting is evil because our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).
No one but God can tell you when to fight by turning the other cheek or by actually acting out. Here is a bit of advice to help you see it clearer – which will better help you win the battle against evil: actively fighting or turning the other cheek?
If you feel you could use more evidence, look at Jesus’ life and how He handled each situation. The only time He acted out violently was in turning the greedy out of the temple (John 2:13-17) and yet He was clearly opposed to evil.
Do you feel like God may be asking you to respond to someone who hurt you with love? Not everyone’s situation is the same, but in every situation you should ask God for His wisdom.
It is our job as Christian’s to fight evil. So which will be a better offense? Which offense will you choose?