‘Come Out From Among Them and be Separate’

Retaliation-dont
Love your enemies. Don’t retaliate.  (Getty Images)

For God’s sake, don’t retaliate.

Shawn A. Akers

In the court of secular opinion, believers in Jesus Christ simply cannot win. Non-believers—and “believers” who do not share a close relationship with Jesus—are watching the behavior and speech of believers very closely these days to stock up ammunition to use against them and discredit Christ in any way.

The more ammunition in their arsenal, the easier it is to delilgitimize Christ in a culture that already despises Him. Daily, the enemy diligently and delightfully scours for opportunities to impugn the character of God’s children and, many times, God’s children simply hand him those opportunities on a silver platter. The enemy knows well how to push the buttons of Christ followers, especially the hot button of revenge.

In an age where social media rules all, believers have become easily entrapped into the attraction of quick retaliation. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It’s the law of the cyber media jungle and we are entitled to self-justification, right?

A recent example is Gov. Mike Huckabee, a man of God who certainly deserves the respect of the nation for the principles on which he has stood. But even Gov. Huckabee is human and can give into the seduction of retaliation, as he did this week.

In an age where social media rules all, believers have become easily entrapped into the attraction of quick retaliation. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It’s the law of the cyber media jungle and we are entitled to self-justification, right?

After Sam Nunberg, a former political adviser to President Trump, attacked Huckabee’s daughter, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (he called her a “fat slob” in a CNN interview), Huckabee fought back against CNN and Nunberg with this tweet Wednesday:

Here is part of the CNN interview with Nunberg. These responses to Huckabee’s tweet followed his tweet:

Yvonne Lagalo
@LagaloYvonne

@GovMikeHuckabee “I am trying to understand how you consider yourself a Christian, while mocking and ripping people apart, daily! Like your daughter, you will say and do almost anything to defend a man that has been anything but moral, in his life and presidency. Do you think GOD compromises??”

ElizaG
@eag_72

@GovMikeHuckabee “And you did a great in politics with obvious exploitation of Christianity.”

Whether these readers are right or wrong is irrelevant. It’s Gov. Huckabee’s actions the world is watching.  It’s difficult to slay the emotion of revenge; you are only human. But as a Christ follower, you must resist it. Walk away. You must not allow any room for hypocrisy.

And for those of you who don’t know, Mayberry is the fictional town in North Carolina where the Andy Griffith show was set. Otis Campbell was the town drunk.

As his followers, Jesus doesn’t want us to seek revenge.  Didn’t he command us in 2 Corinthians 6:17 to, “come out from among them and be separate?” And what about Matt. 5:39, which says, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

Believe me, I know from whenst I speak. In the past, I have been as guilty as anyone in justifying myself on social media and in normal everyday relationships. I felt as if I had to make sure the person I was dealing with did not get the upper hand. And each time, until I finally got the message, the Holy Spirit would speak to me and say, “Shawn, don’t do that. It only makes things worse. I’ve got your back. In the end, if you obey my commandments, then I will justify you. You’re only making things harder for yourself, and Me.”

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matt. 5:11). 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Keep this in mind: When you match insult for insult (eye for an eye), the only thing it accomplishes is that it makes Jesus look bad, and any credibility you have becomes lost. You may be preaching Christ, but the next minute you are spewing venom. The King James Version, James 1:8, says “a doubly-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” The New Living Translation of that verse puts it this way: “Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

Don’t let your emotions rule you. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words and your actions. Pray this simple prayer every day: “Holy Spirit, keep a guard on my mouth that I may honor you in everything I say.”

And remember, do something to rise up higher in your calling today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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