Our initial response to hurts caused by others is to judge and to retaliate. We revert quickly back to our sinful habits. We view the person as the enemy and justify our place to respond back as judge. This, however, is not what we see commanded in Scripture. When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He cautioned His people against hastily judging others (Matthew 7:15) and warned against retaliating (Matthew 5:38-42). Not only that, but He calls us to forgive … time after time! (Matthew 18:22).
"MY FEAR IS THAT WE ARE FIGHTING THE WRONG BATTLE AND LOSING EVERY TIME. THE REAL ENEMY IN THIS BATTLE IS NOT PEOPLE, IT IS SATAN."
Instead of fighting against a person and trying to control our feelings and responses, we need to hand over the battle to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 gives us God’s directions in fighting the right battles:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
Did you get that? We don’t fight against flesh and blood; we fight a spiritual battle, and as believers, we are on the winning side with Jesus. It is time we stand our ground, refusing to allow Satan to convince us the “enemy” is another believer. We are to fight the real enemy together! If we are not careful, we will allow judgmental, unforgiving spirits to disrupt God’s will of sanctification in our lives. God is not concerned about us fixing other people or exacting justice for our own hurts; He is concerned about us coming to Him in humility and leaving our pain at His feet. As 2 Corinthians 10:5 commands, we are to literally destroy, or refute, any idea that is not true about God and others. The battle most often is fought in our minds, and Scripture clearly tells us that we are to take our thoughts captive and make them obey Christ.
The truth is, the sins of others often reveal the sins in our own hearts and minds. Ouch. I have been learning this firsthand, and God has been scrubbing my heart every which way as I have mulled this over. The hurts caused by other people are often the brush God uses to scrub our own hearts. Instead of fighting the brush, let’s turn our gaze back to Jesus, deal with the sin in our hearts, and pray for our sisters in Christ. None of us are guiltless before a perfect God without Jesus to stand in our place. Psalm 19:12-13 even reveals to us that we have all sinned intentionally and unintentionally, and we need to ask for cleansing. What if we got on our knees and prayed for forgiveness, revival, and unity, instead of living in hurtful, broken relationships? We would truly be living the unity that Christ died for.
Fighting the Good Fight