First off, let me
point out that words have no power over you, except for the power you allow
them to have. Let me say it again: Words have no power over you, except for the
power you allow them to have. They're just words, not bullets. Not sharp
knives. Just words.
When you allow
someone else to offend you -- either by something they said or something they
did -- you're giving them power over you. That person learns they can control
you by exhibiting bad behavior. This is especially true if you refuse to show
them mercy. What do I mean?
Say some unbeliever
calls you a bigot because of your belief in Jesus and you're upset. That's
understandable as nobody likes being called names. You then demand the person
apologize to you. The person refuses to apologize. Now you're really upset and
start to tell others about the terrible thing so-and-so said about you. See how
this could escalate? And, in allowing it to continue, you really do become a
victim by your own refusal to show mercy by dropping it. You even risk allowing
a "root of bitterness" to spring up in your life (Hebrews 12:15), all
because you didn't "consider the source."
If, instead, you
choose to show mercy by "considering the source," realizing the
offending person isn't a believer and is just doing what comes natural, you
retain control and can feel empathy toward the person. We shouldn't expect
unsaved people to do what's right in God's eye. We need to realize that mankind
has a problem because everyone is doing what's right in their own eyes (Judges
17:6; Proverbs 21:2).
We need to be like
Jesus when He was crucified. Talk about an innocent Man Who had a legitimate
claim to being abused. Yet look what He did:
Luke 23:34 (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
And what about
Acts 7:59-60 (KJV)
59 And they stoned
Stephen, calling upon God, and saying,
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
60 And he kneeled down,
and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this
sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
What the unbeliever
needs is the Gospel. When the person gets saved, the Holy Spirit will go to
work in that person, changing them from the inside out. But if we spend all our
thoughts on how we were wronged, we'll never see that person as someone we need
to lift before God so they'll have a chance to repent and turn to Him.
So, if you want to
be a victim, then be offended by everything anyone says. That's what millions
of people are doing these days. They'll take a statement and change it slightly
then claim they were "verbally abused." But that's dishonest and done
in an effort to try and make the person who made the original statement look
bad. In the process, they make themselves look bad as well.
I'll tell you up
front, that doesn't make you a victim, it makes you seem childish. Any normal
person will see you as being childish. The saddest part of this is when
Christians complain about something someone said, wanting to feel like a
victim. STOP being a victim! If you're born again, then you're a new creature
in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Instead, let's take a look at a few things
In the Sermon On The
Mount, one of the first things Jesus said was this:
Matthew 5:11-12 (KJV)
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against
you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:
for great is your reward in heaven: for
so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
When men say
terrible things about us for being followers of Jesus Christ, we're not
supposed to play the part of victims. We're supposed to rejoice! Why? Because
it means we've been counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. That's
pleasing to God and He won't forget. Our reward will be waiting for us in
Keep in mind, Jesus
said we're going to be hated by the world. That's because the world hated Him
John 15:18 (KJV)
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated
So don't expect the
world, or those who are currently lost in sin, to love you. If every unbeliever
you know seems to love you and has nothing bad to say about you while they
remain in their sins, I'd be concerned. It may mean that you haven't told them the
Truth (John 14:6). Or it may mean that you haven't been living in a way that
shows people you're a follower of Christ (Matthew 5:16; 2 Timothy 3:12).
Look what the
Apostle Peter had to say about this:
1 Peter 4:14-16 (KJV)
14 If ye be reproached
for the name of Christ, happy are ye;
for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil
spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you
suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
This comes back to
what I said at the start. If someone -- a friend, enemy, stranger, politician,
etc. -- says something about you that isn't true, why be offended? Feel sorry
for that person. Pray for that person. Do something nice for that person. Bless
that person. Know whose advice that is? Here's a hint.
Matthew 5:43-48 (KJV)
43 Ye have heard that it hath been
said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of
your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and
on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love
you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren
only, what do ye more than others? do
not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as
your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Let's stop following
the ways of the world and follow our Lord instead. Don't expect unsaved people
to think or act like saved people. Instead, pray for people that act like
unsaved people. That's because people who act like unsaved people are unsaved.
They need an Advocate (1 John 2:1). Lift them before the Throne of God and ask
that God would open their eyes.
That makes us
proactive in reaching the world for Christ. It also keeps us from wasting time
feeling sorry for ourselves.
Finally, look at how
the Apostles dealt with people who abused them.
Acts 5:40-42 (KJV)
40 And to him they
agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not
speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 And they departed from
the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame for his name.
42 And daily in the
temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Let's stop wasting
time crying about what someone said, or didn't say, and get back to teaching
and preaching Christ, as we've been instructed to do (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark
16:15-16). It's what the early church did, and they turned the world upside
down for Christ (Acts 17:6).
So what's it going
to be? Sit around and feel sorry for ourselves? Or teach and preach Christ and
see if we can turn the world upside down for Christ?
Otherwise, we may
risk hearing this from Jesus:
Matthew 16:23 (KJV)
23 But he turned, and
said unto Peter [or me!], Get thee behind me,
Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be
of God, but those that be of men.