STOP DEFENDING YOURSELF!

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only be silent.” Exodus 14:14

Ever argue with a narcissist or someone who has extreme hatred toward you? The arguments tend to look this: The hater is very accusatory, demanding and threatening. Their accusations usually come out of nowhere. You feel stunned by such a sucker punch (metaphorically speaking) and backed into a corner. While your head is spinning from the lies being hurled at you your immediate nature to defend yourself kicks in. This only fuels your accuser to push back harder and in the end you’re left wondering if what they’ve said about you is actually RIGHT?!

I have had my share of said arguments both personally and professionally. Each time I’ve felt a deep hurt and confusion asking myself why someone could say such things, tell such lies or treat me the way they did. I would turn to God in prayer seeking truth but also seeking justice. More often than not, I would get the message to just be silent and let God fight this battle.

I’m a woman of many words. I have a sarcastic sense of humor and am very quick witted. Growing up my momma would say “Her mouth will get her into trouble someday.” And it has, far too many times. Obviously, God’s “be silent and let Me take care of this” answer has never been an easy one for me to follow. In fact, there were times that this answer infuriated me. It’s not easy to let someone slash your character and remain silent. It’s taken much practice and I’ve still a long ways to go. When I put silence into practice, this is what happens:

  1. My accuser cannot argue with me if I’m not saying anything back.
  • 2. My accuser can hurl harsh words at me but those words can only deeply hurt me if I let them.
  • 3. My accuser cannot define my character. Only God can.
  • 4. Silence allows me to listen to my accuser, think about what’s being said and decipher between truth and lies.
  • 5. Silence is a form of humility. Defense is a form of pride.
  • 6. God is faithful and always keeps His promises. If He says He’s fighting for me, I believe Him even when I can’t see His work in action.
  • 7. For every verbal tearing down I’ve experienced, God has sent someone to build me back up.
  • Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: I’ve seen two movies recently where refusal to argue (a form of silence) was put into action. Both of these scenarios stood out to me as signs of true humbleness. Here’s the scenario of one of them: In the ending of this movie two women, who’s friendship had ended over a man, cross paths. One is carrying the man’s shirts that were just picked up from the dry cleaners. The other notices and says; “I bought him that shirt!” The other says nothing but then apologizes for hurting her. Instead of accepting the apology, the jilted woman responds with “you were always jealous of me, even when I was accepted to Notre Dame.” Now if you’ve seen this movie you would know that a discussion takes place earlier between the woman who ends up with the man and another person. Basically they draw a conclusion that the jilted woman actually lied about being accepted to Notre Dame. At the moment she then calls her ex-friend out on jealousy, the other woman could’ve called her out on the lie but instead responds (in a soft caring tone) with, “you’re right…”
  • The jealousy statement was an open door for the accused to defend herself but she chose to let her accuser think she was right instead.
  • If you’re character is being attacked right now, if you’re battling with a narcissist perhaps or just being bombard with false accusations take courage in knowing that you’re not alone in this kind of battle. Saul hated David and hurled a spear at him. Jezebel hated Elijah and hunted for him. The Pharisees hated Jesus and nailed Him to a cross. Even Judas sold Jesus out. Just like God fought for and protected David, Elijah and Jesus, He is fighting for and protecting you. God knows the outcome of your circumstance and no matter what, He IS fighting for you (and me.) When your accusers rise up, be silent and let God fight the battle for you.
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    Find the David in You

    “So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword.”

    ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭17:50‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    There are times in our lives when we come against a mountainous Goliath. This person could come in the form of a school bully, a domineering spouse, a manipulative boss or even from a parent, sibling or close friend. Whatever form, they are a person who seeks to have power and control over you. They display an overwhelming strength that can be very intimidating. Your instinct is to want to fight them but fear, lack of resources perhaps or some other barrier keeps you from doing so. Maybe you do fight back but their coarse words or even physical strength leave you feeling even more defeated. You may cry out for help but no one seems to be willing to stand up to the giant. Maybe it feels as though God will never send help. I am confident David’s people knew exactly how that feels.

    They prayed for God to send someone to defeat this overpowering beast who killed off anyone who even attempted to take him on. Day after day Goliath taunted the Israeli army. The Israelites shook in fear of him. I am confident they wondered where God was and how He was going to redeem them from the Philistines. God answered by sending David (who interestingly enough enters this story as a delivery boy checking up on his brothers.) if you’re familiar with the rest of the story then you know that David, the unlikely hero, overcomes the giant through God’s divine intervention.

    When we read this story, it’s easy to pray for God to send us a “David” to triumph over our giants. I’ve prayed this prayer many times hoping God would conquer my giants the same way. But what if, God’s plan is to empower you and/or me to be our own Davids? What if ultimately we are the ones who will stand up and defeat those who seek to dominate us?

    If you’re thinking in human terms, you could be wondering how that would even work? Maybe you’re thinking it’s impossible even. Jesus’ answer to that would be: “…Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Clearly though, if God wanted us to defeat our enemy it would’ve happened by now right? But what if it hasn’t happened simply because we’ve failed to take a stand, set boundaries and say “Enough is enough. I will not tolerate this anymore.” Think about this: the Israelites HID from Goliath. David ran toward him. The Israelites trembled when Goliath spoke. David responded to Goliath’s taunts with this: “…You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies…” (1 Samuel‬ ‭17:45‬ ‭NLT‬‬) Verse 46 begins with “Today the Lord will conquer you…” David’s secret weapon was His confident faith that he could fight this behemoth bully because God ultimately would be the driving force behind his victory! Even when others told him he couldn’t fight Goliath, David refuted their words by reminding them of how God had already protected him from brute wild animals who threatened the lives of his sheep.

    David’s triumph over Goliath is a reminder of the warrior God has made each of us to be. We aren’t made to be prisoners of war or ladies in waiting locked away in a tower guarded by a dragon. We were made to be conquerors over all the real enemy throws at us including bullies, controllers, abusers, and overbearing people. How do we do that? How do we fight and become conquerors in our own trials and tribulations? Here are some useful tips I have been applying in my own life to become the David who defeats my giants.

    1.) Set boundaries for yourself that protect you physically, emotionally and spiritually. This may look like telling someone not to speak to you a certain way but could also mean having to cut off total communication if the person continues to be demanding, abusive, harassing, or manipulative. This may also come in the form of police involvement or obtaining a personal protection order if the person’s actions violate your physical safety.

    2.) Controllers do not like boundaries or being told what to do so once boundaries are set, expect backlash or retaliation. Do NOT tremble or cower from this. Be consistent in setting boundaries no matter how intimidating your controller becomes. Even if your heart is racing and fear tries to consume you, stand firm.

    3.) Pray continuously and stand on Exodus 14:14. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to remain calm!

    4.) If name calling or manipulation is the weapon of choice for your giant, do not feed into their lies. Stand on God’s truth and focus on what God says about you. Our enemies will never define us as good. They will always seek to be destructive because of their toxic make-up. That is their issue-don’t make it yours. God’s opinion of us supersedes any other, especially that of our enemies.

    5.) Read the book of Psalms. David was taunted by more than one giant in his lifetime. Psalms is full of times he had to repeatedly remind himself of God’s victories in his life. Even when he feared for his own and was hiding in a cave from Saul David continued to praise God as a way of reminding himself that God would deliver him once again. (Psalms 57 and Psalms 142.)

    6.) Don’t focus on your enemies’ actions. This gives them more power and can grow more fear, develop a root of bitterness and turn you toxic. Focus on God’s ability and His promise of deliverance. Praise Him in your storm.

    7.) Seek our wise counsel but recognize what is and isn’t helpful. Before David met Goliath, Saul tried protecting him with armor that actually would’ve hindered David from defeating Goliath. Our friends and family can have the most meaningful intentions and still give us advice that, if followed, could set us back instead of bringing victory.

    8.) Pray. Not just for protection and victory but for guidance, strength, endurance, wisdom, discernment and grace. No matter how awful our enemy is, God calls us to love and forgive them. This request is the hardest for me to practice in my own life so as I am praying for you, please pray for me in this regard especially.

    9.) Don’t go down the rabbit hole of arguing with them (another weakness of mine.) This will only lead to giving them control over your emotions and leave you feeling defeated. If you have to communicate with them-stick to the facts and ignore every attempt they make to discredit you.

    10.) If your Goliath is a boss or supervisor, remind yourself that you are working for the Lord. If their actions are creating a hostile workplace or coming in the form of harassment then you may need to enlist help from Human Resources or legal assistance. Laws were created to protect people from harassment in the workplace and more people need to stand on these laws.

    No matter your circumstance or who your Goliath is, God will deliver you. Sometimes God will send a David to help us. But other times, He brings out the David within us to bring a victory that exceeds what we could ever imagine. If you’ve been battling a Goliath for a long time, it’s time to ask God to show you the David within you. Then trust God to deliver you from your Goliath by taking a stand, setting boundaries, praying and forgiving.

    Turn the Other Cheek

    “But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.”

    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    I once got into a debate with someone regarding the above scripture. I was dealing with a cruel individual and a Christian Friend of mine, in an effort to help me, quoted this scripture. I was encouraged to not defend myself against my enemy but allow the cruelty to happen.

    I have a firm belief that we are to love our enemies but that does not mean we are to be doormats. So I refuted this advice. This friend of mine and I are both strong minded individuals. He thought he was right and I thought I was right. Thus, our debate ended up in an argument that led to ending our friendship. There were other circumstances in the mix also that led to cutting off communication but nonetheless this argument was definitely a key factor.

    Recently I downloaded an app that is full of sermons and other great biblical tools. I opened it for the first time today and the first sermon that popped up was “Dealing with Mean and Demanding People.” It’s a three part sermon series by Pastor Mike Fabaraz. I spent the morning listening to the first two parts. The common denominator in both messages is this: turning the other cheek is meant specifically to those who persecute us for being a follower of Christ. It is not meant for those who bully us, assault us, steal from us, demean us, etc. for the purpose of fueling their own toxic thinking and solely to hurt us. We are allowed to defend ourselves. God does not call us to be doormats.

    The picture for this post is of the app to encourage readers to download the app and check out these sermons specifically. If you listen to them, share your thoughts in the comment section. This post is NOT to say that I’m right and my friend was wrong. This post to raise an awareness to many, including myself, who struggle with the correct interpretation of this verse as well as who are seeking instruction with how to deal with the toxic people in your life.

    One last thought-learn from my experience. Never let a debate about scripture come between you and someone you care about. The enemy comes to seek and destroy and he will use every angle possible to do that-even debates over scriptural context in God’s word. If you feel your pride swelling up, take a step back, pause and pray. Ask God to help you both share the same understanding (like in Philippians 2:2) of the scripture in order to keep solidarity in your friendship or relationship. Think about this; if the devil’s raising up his own army, what better tactic for him to attempt to be victorious then if he can get God’s army to turn against one another, right? May the Lord and my friend forgive me for allowing my pride and my need to be right to sever what was an intense and spiritually intimate friendship. May the Lord bless those who read today’s post and especially to those who are able to experience the sermons mentioned first hand.