Psalm 11:2 For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. (NKJV)
If you’ve been alive very long, you know what it’s like to have someone “shoot an arrow” at you. Whether it’s lying about you, accusing you of something, ruining your reputation or gossiping about you, it’s an inevitable part of life. While it certainly comes from those who hate our Lord, sadly, the shots often come attached with the label “Brother”.
When it happens out in the open for all to see, it’s often easier to deal with because most of the time the antagonist is easily recognized. We are not fooled; others are not fooled. It’s a whole different ballgame when “secret” attacks occur. You know the ones I mean don’t you? It’s the person who smiles and acts like nothing is going on when other people are around, but let the games begin as soon as the door shuts and the witnesses have gone home. Or it could be the unseen attacker you can never even identify whose arrows of gossip and lies penetrate just as deeply but leave us with the added uncertainty of unanswered questions.
The fact that people attack each other is a by-product of a sin-cursed world. It will NEVER stop until sin is completely removed no matter how much Oprah or the United Nations wants to preach “the goodness of man”. What I want to think about in this series is 1) why the wicked attack the upright, and 2) what our response to those attacks should be.
Christians should be identifiable by their
supernatural response to personal attacks.
One of the things that separates Christians from the world is that even when we are attacked we do not (or should not) seek revenge or stoop to retaliation. Don’t let this be confused with defending our families, employer or friends. When attacks on us (and those around us) result in our selfless and sacrificial defense of others, that is a good thing. We could use more courage today. But how should we personally respond, feel and act concerning the wicked person attacking us? The natural, fleshly response is defensiveness and retaliation. The mature Christian should move past the natural response and cultivate the supernatural response.
What should our response be? There are not any pat or simple answers, and the exact EXTERNAL response is going to depend on many variables. However, our internal attitude towards those who attack us as Christians is a little more quantifiable. I have found that MUCH stress and frustration can be averted in life if we simply look at the motives, spiritual state and needs of the person attacking us then focus on those internal issues rather than the external battle.
Very often, the attacker is hurting, stressed, confused or misled. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t times when the attacks are just simply evil being played out. Most certainly that happens routinely. Over the next few days I would like to look at some common motives that drive the wicked archer to launch their arrows at us: hurt, competitiveness, stress, envy, immaturity or ignorance, guilt, peer pressure and evil.
We’ll look at the motive and the Godly response to it. I hope you’ll join me.
Lord God, help us to respond in righteousness to those who attack us. Help us to respond in such a way that our attackers clearly see their need for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: To be able to respond in love and compassion to an attacker takes a willful decision AHEAD of time. Rarely are we ready to respond instinctively with patience and understanding if we simply react to an attacker. We must decide proactive NOW to respond in love THEN. We can save ourselves so much stress and aggravation if we respond in righteousness to those who attack us rather than respond through our flesh with revenge and defensiveness.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?