I have had the same conversation come up a couple of times over the last few months. The conversation centers on the question of if being a good Christian means that you are a doormat or someone’s punching bag. When speaking with one of my Christian friends, she said that if someone attacks her that she’s going to fight now and repent later. Certainly, I don’t condone this way of thinking though I do understand it. However, the Lord showed me something this week that blessed me on the topic.
A coworker has verbally attacked me several times at work. While having a conversation with her, she has said some rude and condescending things. In a very sarcastic or derogatory tone, she would say something like, “What made you think that was OK?” Or “That’s not the way we do things!” Or “What exactly were you thinking?” Each time this happens my response is the same; I remain silent. When I say I remain silent I mean I do not attack her back. I calmly provide a response to her question. That does not mean I am not angry. That is far from the truth; I just know that any response I make in anger would cause the situation to escalate.
Prayer is my approach to all situations in my life, so this is not any different. Whether it is during the conversation or right after, I seek the Lord for help. I pray to not to become offended, for deliverance from anger, and to not hold a grudge. I pray for the Lord to help me to let go of the feelings associated with being attacked and talked to like I was a child. These comments happened so often I got to the point where I did not want to speak with her. Though this is impossible, this is how I felt.
As I struggled with what is the right thing to do as a Christian in these types of situations, this week the Lord taught me something. My coworker did it again, and she made a rude, condescending remark. I remained silent, but I went home, and I thought about it all evening; fighting the urge to attack. The next morning when I went to work, I started my day with prayer as I usually do. However, for some reason, I began to pray for the both of us and our relationship. I did not intentionally change my focus from myself to our relationship. It’s just how I ended up praying. About 45 minutes after praying the phone rang, and it was her. I picked up the phone, and she immediately started to apologize for her comments. As soon as she did, I knew that this was the Lord’s answer to my prayer and the answer for how he wanted me to respond when I was being attacked. He wanted me to turn the prayers away from myself, and towards the other person, and our relationship.
After she had apologized, I thanked her and told her I had just prayed for our relationship. She stopped for a second and then she prayed over the phone for us as well. After we had hung up, I realized that even though I remained silent each time she attacked me, I was not unresponsive. Instead, I took action and gave control of the situation to the Lord. Praise God for His response!