Praise the Lord, my protector! He trains me for battle and prepares me for war. Psalm 144:1
God is love. Why would he train and prepare anyone for battle? Speaking only for myself, I relate this to my personal interactions with others. While growing up, I somehow got the idea that being good meant not making any waves and always putting the wishes of others ahead of my own. This misunderstanding translated into never standing up for myself. I swallowed resentments and knuckled under to peer pressure. What I called being nice was really lack of courage. There is a time keep silent, but there is also a time to speak the truth. Being a doormat is not kind and loving. Enabling others to be domineering isn’t doing them any favors and damages our self-respect. I’m learning that being a good Christian and being nice aren’t always the same thing. Despite his unfathomable love and compassion, Jesus did not conform to the demands of the Pharisees or back off from their challenges.
Nevertheless, it’s uncomfortable to assert ourselves if we aren’t used to it. We may feel guilty. We may feel like we’re being selfish or obnoxious. We may fear that people won’t like us. Bullies aren’t only found in schoolyards. We may encounter them at work, at home, or even within our own hearts – negative self-talk can be very intimidating. There are times we need to take a stand. Wisdom and discernment is needed if there is any possibility of physical danger. In such cases, it’s important to get guidance and support from appropriate sources so that we don’t put ourselves or others in harm’s way. If we don’t know how to assert ourselves, resources can help us acquire the skills and ability. When holding firm is appropriate, I believe that God will guide and empower us. The Lord trains us for battle and prepares us for war.
Prayer: Lord, teach me when and how You want me to take a stand.
Reflection for sharing: Am I being called to take a stand on some situation today?