As Christians, we are called to be humble. We are called to be patient. And we are called to be forgiving.
But we are never called to be wimps.
Sometimes, the battle against darkness involves calling out others for the wrongs they’ve done – or are doing – to us.
The Apostle Paul’s and his helper Silas’ experience in Acts 16 is instructive in this way.
Paul and Silas were falsely accused by pagans who didn’t like losing the income from a fortune teller that had been exorcised of a demon by Paul.
The accusations, embraced by leaders of the city named Philippi, led to Paul and Silas being stripped and beaten severely and thrown into prison.
Paul and Silas were Roman citizens and such things were never to happen for citizens without a trial before Roman authorities.
That was a huge mistake by the city officials, one that – under the law – should have resulted in their being stripped and beaten and thrown into prison.
You’ll want to read the amazing story of Acts 16:11-40. It will strengthen your faith.
What you’ll also read in that story is the demand of Paul and Silas that the city officials come to them and make a public apology for their grievous error.
“But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.” (vv. 37-39)
Was Paul failing to show Christian humility by making this request? Was Paul not being forgiving?
Of course not.
He was simply exercising his rights under the law.
And he was protecting the rights of other believers who were citizens who might have faced harrassing efforts by these same leaders in the future.
I’m sure that this episode left an impression of the impulsive city leaders who punished first and investigated later.
Listen, it is not wrong to demand your rights.
You might, for the sake of the Gospel, choose to lay your rights aside at times in order to demonstrate spiritual strength and a spirit of forgiveness.
But if you’re being harrassed at the job via illegal actions of the boss or other workers or if a business person makes an unjust decision that effectively steals money from you, stand your ground.
Seek wise advice. Protect your legal interests. Doing so is not a sin but actually might make it easier for your future service and for other believers who might face less hassle because you spoke up.
Bullies that face no push-back by people of integrity will just keep harrassing people, including believers.
As you’ve heard before, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
As always, I love you
Read Full Post »