“Christians shouldn’t be doormats,” I said as a side comment at our weekly men’s breakfast. This comment led to a great discussion. What does that mean? Should we always ride off into battle the moment we sense a conflict? What about Jesus? He allowed himself to be nailed to a cross!
The idea here is that Christians shouldn’t be passive. To define our terms – being a doormat would be something that violates James 4:17 – He who “knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” When it’s time to speak up and tell the truth and we don’t. When we drift into gossip with a friend over coffee. When we need to stick up for a brother or family member. If we chicken out and remain silent, don’t act – we are a sinful little doormat. Trampled on by others.
How do we avoid being a doormat? I’ll submit two ways for your consideration. First, and the most obvious way would be this: don’t just sit there, do something. Speak up, address subtle digs at the faith, tell the truth, call sin what it is, defend the honor of your spouse, child, friend. Do so with prayer, dependence on the Spirit, and grounded in the Word of God.
The second way is to deliberately decide to forbear. This means your action is a path of deliberate non-action. Humbly take the offense. Absorb the hurt. This runs right down Main Street of the “one another” passages like Ephesians 4:2 tells us – “with all humility and gentleness, bear with one another in love.”
However, what needs to guide all of this? The glory of God, not the glory of us. We can be so easily offended by other people’s sin against us and then react sinfully in return. We think that we are standing up for the truth, but maybe we are just meeting someone’s sin with more sin of our own. Standing up for anything must be rooted in the glory of God and we need to check our hearts. As always – consider Jesus. “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23 ESV)