I wish I could find it again, but I saw a little comic the other day, showing a Christian who is irritated by everyone saying that all Christians are bad. So, the Christian very realistically spouts back “Well, atheists do this, that, and the other thing!” And the atheist very calmly replies something along the lines of “Not all atheists do that, and you don’t know that it was atheism that made them do it.” Essentially, the very argument the Christian should have used instead of trying to fire back!
People don’t like being told their wrong. Christian, Atheist, man, woman, child, adult, nobody likes being told they are wrong. Something about it just activates self-defense mode. When this happens, you really figure out what kind of person you are. One person can keep a cool head and argue intelligently, or at least maintain their position. The other kind says “KILL ALL THE THINGZ!”
It’s this second kind of person that makes up the most of humanity, unfortunately. And the longer we’re told we’re wrong, the worse it gets. It goes from arguing the point (well, I think this and that), to quick and outright dismissal of anything at all (Nope, nu-uh, you’re wrong, whatever you say, you’re wrong), to insulting the opposing point/person (Shut up, you *%&$*!!!).
Retaliation. You hurt me, so I hurt you. This is a flawed philosophy in the first place for all kinds of reasons, some of which I’ll get into in a second, but it just plain doesn’t work in an argument.
Look back at that Christian/Atheist argument at the top. The Atheist at some point said Christians do this, and so the Christian said, well, Atheists do that. Do you see what happened? The Christian basically said, “Yep, we do that!” and tried to fire something back that’s just as bad, hopefully worse.
Retaliation doesn’t defend anybody, it just hurts people.
This is why you’re not supposed to talk about church or politics. “You’re a Liberal whore!” “Well you’re a Conservative homophobe!” It’s just trying to carry a bigger stick than the other person because we want to be bigger than they are.
Sadly, you also see this in marriages! “You don’t listen to me!” “Well, you don’t do anything!”
We’re a people that loves not to defend our own point, but to tear the other person down. How is this showing any kind of love?
I think everybody needs to grow a little bit tougher skin (myself included) so that we’re not jumping out of it every time someone says we’re wrong, because guess what! Someone, somewhere WILL say you’re wrong, and they might not be all that nice about it. So get used to it!
I want to see people who are backed into a wall or a corner put up their shields instead of whipping out their swords. I want people to deflect enemy blows, not try to just inflict a worse one.
And the truth is that people retaliate because they’re insecure to some degree. If you’re firing back, it means that someone hurt you or shook you and you didn’t like it. But if you’re sound in whatever you believe in, no one can make you doubt yourself or make you think you’re a worse person just because they said so.
Everybody and their brother has heard this verse: “If your enemy strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other one also” -Matthew 5:39 (NIV).
Now, as a quick note, no, this does not say to become anybody’s doormat. Start one verse earlier and you get the full context. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth,’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other one, also.”
The funny thing is, Jesus’s talk about “Eye for eye” and “Tooth for tooth” was actually Old Testament Scripture. But what God had put in place to exact justice, people had turned into revenge. You hurt me, so I hurt you, and Jesus said that’s not the attitude to have.
I remember hearing a story of a Christian pastor who met a young person who flat-out said, “I hate religious people.” A nice, all-encompassing statement. What do you think most religious people would have said? “Well, I hate you!” “Well, that’s because you’re the devil!” “You’ve insulted my God, now your’e going to Hell!” But the Christian pastor simply replied, “I hate ’em too; religious people make me sick.”
Kind of a strange, but Christianity often is. But instead of retaliating against this insulting youth, the pastor embraced him. He didn’t switch sides, he simply showed the youth the difference between a religious person and a Christian. And amazingly, the pastor was able to use this to get the youth to think Jesus was pretty awesome!
The world says to get back at those who hurt you, but I challenge you to be better than the world. Jesus said to “not resist an evil person.” Instead, embrace them. And this was for the evil people, so how much more should you do this for someone who’s not flat-out evil, just against you?
So, I encourage you, don’t try to step on the other person to make yourself feel better. Embrace the other person as a fellow human being, not a monster out to destroy you. And Christians especially. We’re to model Jesus, and this is a very direct command from him: Don’t set your heart on retaliation, but on love. You can defend your position/claim/belief, and you should, but let’s keep it about that, not the other person.
Love you guys.