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He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Assert


Is assertiveness a different measure of seeking justice, now, without waiting or relying on God to provide vengeance or recompense?

I define assertive as the opportunity to teach people how they are to treat me. I know as a definition that this sticks with some people. It is in this aspect of vindicating my claim to the right to be treated with respect, to affirm my legitimacy as a person, to expect others to esteem me as something other than a doormat, that assert has its fully intended purpose.

Many look at the scriptures and find modeled in the life of Jesus a lifestyle and teaching that is not consistent with the aforementioned definition of assert.

Matthew 5:39,"...but I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

Matthew 5:42, "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away."

Isaiah 53:7, speaking prophetically of Jesus states, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth."

This is representative of the teaching that is used to affirm a Christian lifestyle of subservience without validation of the person hood of the individual to aver a level of respect due them as a God-created being. We are appalled at the atrocities done to human-beings Worldwide as we see them slaves to oppressive regimes and military and cultural situations, yet we claim in the name of meekness the justification of martyrdom for the sake of Christianity and proudly "take up our cross' in a vain and paltry method of works. Those who suffer in other countries such pain and misfortune, suffer in silence, knowing speaking up will result in death. Those in our culture who bear adversity merely for the sake of a sense of propriety for their religion, suffer not just in their situation, undeservedly, but in promoting in error a cultural mindset that claims Christians are to be the trampled, viewed as the less intelligent, the ones to be used, and possibly abused.

John 2:15, says of Jesus, "When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changer's money and overturned the tables." We see here the arrival of the Son of God to His Father's house and in a state of indignation at the state of affairs of the temple entrusted to people to maintain, He (Jesus) restores by His authority the proper state of affairs. He (Jesus) is asserting His rightful position, and instructing people who are behaving in defiance of the Laws of God in the proper attitude they are to have in observance of the Levitical Law established.

John 2:16, "...and He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise."

I do not believe that as Christians we need to, nor do we have the right to stand by and suffer the reproaches of our culture, nor do we as individuals need to, nor in accurately proclaiming our faith are required to, endure hardship or injustice because we will not assert our legitimate rights and claims as people living in a free country. Professional pacifism may only be cowardice. The justification for retribution is restricted by the limiting of revenge to an exact compensation for injuries incurred. The cautions are against the unrestricted 'lynch-law' mentality that is aggressive and offensive in nature. In the achievement of peace the righteous man need not necessarily lay claim to the absolute interpretation of the law whether that be the law of God, or the law of the land, but having the allowances of grace, may at personal discretion give of himself and his possessions that which is asked of him and more so.


Matthew 5:41, "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two." This is called the principle of 'impressment into service', it was what was required of Simon of Cyrene. Mark 15:21, "They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene..."

Matthew 7:12, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,..." There is an underlying and general meaning that we are guided by justice and mercy in all our undertakings and those governing principles determine the intent and extent of our assertive behaviour. There is a nuance to the principles of assertiveness and meekness that need resolution as they are lived out in Christian lives. To stand when rightly accused of wrongdoing we must take our lumps, when faced with the opportunity to assist others and stand for the oppressed we must take the initiative in battling injustice, when faced with the decisions revolving around our own lives in circumstance and situation, the elements of our sanctification, the pursuit of peace and brotherly love, the promotion of the Cross of Christ and our future judgement must all be factors that must be given due consideration.

It is fully expected when dealing with the evils of this world that injury shall happen to us. Personal retaliation is negated by the words of Jesus when He speaks in this passage in Matthew 5:38-42. It can also be noted that when dealing with the evils of this world, it is wise to expect that the first offence will not be the last, and that in extending kindness to those who seek their own gain at any expense, I am exposing myself to personal harm. It can be expected that once seen as an object of use and abuse a second visitation will be forthcoming. People can be brutal and untrustworthy. In this we show our love? In this we show our gullibility? There has to be a point at which we no longer are the victims of circumstance and harm and become men and women who are stewards of the resources given them in the financial, physical and emotional realms.

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