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Miranda Writes: Iíve Got Only Two of Them!




by Omar Miranda

How should Christians respond when wronged?

How would you respond to someone who was bullying you? I’m just going to be honest: my first and natural reaction would be to give it right back to them. I would return fire with fire—but that begs the question: Does that effectively put out the fire? The obvious answer would be no. Water would be the thing to put out a fire. The famous nonviolent civil rights leader in the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr., put it quite clearly when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

As Christians, how do we answer others in our culture, and even in our church, who say, “C’mon, man. You know that you’d give it back just as much as it was given to you.” Sometimes it’s really hard being a true Christian, because God’s outlook on reality is totally different. For instance, you want to be a leader? God says first be a servant. You want to be first? God says make yourself last. If you want to save your life, God says you must first lose it. For the most part, being a Christian means that we do the exact opposite of what we would naturally want to do. Because we are naturally sinful and evil, our responses and first reactions will naturally be sinful and evil. But guess what: if you’re a Christian (and I certainly hope that you are), the old you is dead! The apostle Paul said in
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new” (CEV).1 He also said in Galatians 2:19, 20: “I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me” (CEV).

Well, if God doesn’t want me to respond to bad stuff like I used to respond, then the question begs to be asked: How does God want me to respond? Well, our answer is found in . . .

ta-da! The Bible! Let’s take a look and see what God wants us to do when anybody treats us poorly: “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously” (Matthew 5:38-42, Message).2 What? I deal with a lot of teens and the number one response to that passage always is: “Yeah right, Omar, I ain’t no punk!” You’re right; you’re not. You’re a child of God, and God is the most powerful being in the whole universe! And that’s why when someone treats you like garbage, you take it and you don’t give it back. Why? Because the person who’s doing that definitely needs to see the love, forgiveness, and grace of God, and guess what: to that person, you represent God. They may never step foot in a church or open a Bible, but when people treat you badly and unfairly, you can show them a little bit of the love and forgiveness that God has shown you. You never know, that person may come to know and accept Jesus because of your response to being treated unfairly. Kind of makes you look at things differently, doesn’t it?

Let’s step back from the Bible just for a little bit and take a break. I think it’s time for one of my famous childhood stories . . . OK, they’re not famous, but they should be. I grew up with two brothers and we used to fight a lot. Dad would always tell me—I assumed he also told my other brothers this as well—“Son, when your brothers pick on you, don’t fight back! Come and tell me. I’ll take care of it. You’re little, but I’m big, and when I deal with it, I can promise you, they’ll get what’s coming to them! You may not think I know what’s going on, but remember, I’m always watching, and I know the whole story. I’ll make sure that you’re treated fairly and they’ll be punished appropriately.” What’s up! My dad could drop the hammer like nobody I knew! What’s the point I’m trying to make? When the world treats you poorly—even when people from your own family and your own church treat you poorly—don’t try to get back at them. Let God deal with them. You and I are small, but He’s BIG, and when He deals with somebody or something, I can promise you, they’ll get what’s coming to them! We may not know the whole story, but I promise you, God knows what’s up, and He’s got your back! Hallelujah! Let’s see what the Bible says about this:
Romans 12:18, 19: “Do your best to live at peace with everyone. Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, ‘I am the one to take revenge and pay them back’” (CEV).

As I said before, being a Christian is not always easy, but we should work hard at allowing God’s Holy Spirit power to work through us to love even the most unlovable people in order to live out the love and the grace that God has shown us through His Son, Jesus. Also, you and I can sleep well at night knowing that God will ultimately right all the wrongs that have been done to us—no matter how bad they are. And although you’ve got only two cheeks, God’s got lots of grace and power to go around, and when you’re a Christian, you’ll always come out on top.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

1Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
2Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.
 





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