I think we’ve all been here before. Anger seems to be the typical response when someone attacks our character. Another normal response is to want to immediately fight back. We want to hurl back an insult because of the one thrown at us. We want to fight back in order to ‘right’ the perceived ‘wrong’ someone has done to us. We also want to defend ourselves. This is normal. This is supposed to happen because it’s an indication that some things matter to us. However our fallen human nature begs us to respond poorly to those personal attacks with bitterness, sadness or anger.
We would do well to first consider Proverbs 12:16 states, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” Another is, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”
Each of us wants to be perceived as honorable, intelligent, and strong. We spend time trying to create that image. What person ever spent their time creating a public image of being dishonorable, stupid and weak? But what if our public image is called into question? Well, let me ask you this. Do you know who you are and what you believe? Do you know what you can control and what you can’t control? The more you are driven by a need to be liked by others, the more you will mold yourself into that image to fit other peoples’ perception of who you should be. Let it go…
Can you take responsibility for the things you cannot control? Think about that statement for a minute. “Can you take responsibility for the things you cannot control?” Not everyone is going to like us. We cannot control the filters of how they see us. But we are certainly in charge of how we see the world around us. When we accept the fact that not everyone is going to like us or love us we assume that level of control. This is one example of how we take responsibility for things we cannot control.
When someone attacks our character, beliefs, actions or values its causes us to question them. Our attacker wants to injure us by causing us pain, shame, rejection and they may even want to cover up their own inadequacies. Continually revisiting our values and beliefs before an attack occurs is a good way to handle an attack before it comes. Keep this in mind: If you act against your own values then you have betrayed yourself. Do not be shaken. Do not get rattled. Try to revisit what good values you believe, and recommit yourself to them.
Becoming a victim of slander or malicious gossip might be difficult to bear. An attacker wants you to feel inadequate. Regardless of whether the charges are false or true the thing to do is respond in a way we’re not conditioned to. We must act in a way that keep our eyes focused on greater things. We must let any slander or gossip fuel us to become better persons, and use it to inspire others. Every false accusation, every slander, every ill word spoken about us is an opportunity to grow in our sanctification.
Do not set your heart on worldly interests. Seek out a higher power and set yourself above human injury. Let this give you backbone. Rise up straight! Bear your injuries with patience, joy, gentleness and love. You don’t need to fight back. Your actions speak for you and you have nothing to prove. Rise up and bear the injuries with joy, patience, love, and gentleness.
Lastly, pray for those who attack you. (1 Peter 4:13). “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” This is how we are called to react to our enemies.
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picture from ccrinfo.org
From Crisis and Clarity Doctor Stephen Band