Does Jesus Tell Christians to be Doormats?

Many socialists are ripe for the exploitation of weak-taught Christians who don’t understand the bible-in-toto themselves.  Jesus did not teach Christians to be doormats.  Such conclusions can only be made by those who wield bible-by-verse (including opportunistic non-Christians, looking to exploit Christians into accepting their own secular worldviews).

Please understand that this article is borrowed heavily from a source on www.Catholic.com which I never possessed.  The secondary source from which I draw is another author – a friend.  It is his email correspondence.

In a situation in which a non-Christian was misrepresenting Christianity, if I were to become a doormat, I would choose to do nothing and “turn the other cheek” (a bible-by-verse interpretation).

I would listen to all of the insults and errors, and offer no response back – allowing the errors and injustice to pervade. 

That is an unchristian response.  We should execute our followings of Christ in the holistic sense of His intent in toto.  An old priest was absolutely correct about this, when he gave me the analogy of the doormat at the age of 11. 

A Christian thinker – Republican – classical liberal – Conservative mastermind, Edmund Burke speaks to this: "Toleration becomes a crime when it is applied to evil."

I do believe that when I experience injustice and error which does damage to truth, reason, and Christ-like ways and The Word, it is my duty to confront it. 

Can you say that Jesus never made confrontation?  A doormat, in my mind, never confronts.  It just gets stepped upon – no matter how vulgar its user.  When Jesus “turned the other cheek” it was because He understood what must be done to bear the cross He was provisioned – to meet His perfect fate.

Ah, there’s the rub, so let’s not be doormats, and look at what bible-in-toto says.  How do we confront issues which call for legitimate redress?

Point 1: HOW WE CONFRONT. 

So HOW we address issues matters a lot, even when we have truth on our side. As apologists we frequently cite St. Peter’s admonition to "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15).

Peter goes on to advise us to do so "with gentleness and reverence." If we run roughshod over these and other qualifications, we may be "successful" in achieving short-term objectives (though that hasn’t been the usual experience), but we’re not being "faithful." Rather, acting out of understandable pain, frustration, or anger, we likely have given into "the violence that under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse" (Centessimus Annus 25).

What else about not being a doormat? 

Well, we must BE RELENTLESSLY CONSTRUCTIVE (Point 2) 

"In the business world there’s a maxim that may help us take the right approach in this matter. Successful managers are able to "catch their employees doing something right" and in the process provide positive reinforcement for good behavior. As Christians, we too should emphasize the positive as we strive to "overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21).

In our attitude, we should strive to be relentlessly constructive, thereby avoiding the extremes of naïve optimism and unrelenting criticism. A critical spirit produces pessimism and bitterness that can be spiritually devastating—even scandalous when communicated to others. If we’re bitter we’re certainly not going to attract people to the faith. There is no patron saint of bitterness; rather, the saints attracted people to Christ through their holiness and joy notwithstanding the crosses.

This is all about living the virtue of hope and remaining focused on the prize, Christ himself. This hope impels us to be resourceful for the kingdom of God, trusting that the Lord looks favorably on our fidelity.

In [author’s] experience as a litigation attorney, the vast majority of cases settled without ever going to trial. The parties were generally much better off trying to resolve their differences in good faith rather than insisting on their pound of flesh.  How much more must that be the case with Christians (cf. Matt. 5:23–26). This can be a real challenge in troubled parishes or dioceses but, in the words of Paul, we can’t grow tired of doing the right thing (2 Thess. 3:13)."

What else about not being a doormat?  Well, recognize THERE IS GOOD AND BAD ANGER (note, neutral anger vs. vengeance).  (Point 3)

"All human beings have passions, feelings, and emotions. In this regard anger is unique and tricky because it is both a capital sin (hence gravely evil) and also a passion (morally neutral, or even amoral). Anger is rightly directed toward perceived evils, and the better formed we are the more the passion of anger inside us will be calibrated rightly.

For example, a saint would be angered by sin; one with less virtue might be angered by having to wait an extra minute in a shopping line. But the intellect and will must call the shots, not the anger—otherwise, we will move from passion to sin. That’s why it’s so important to cool off (if necessary and if circumstances allow) before responding to a perceived evil or injustice.

The passion of anger can and must be put to good use. We have a duty to resist evil, and so the lack of passion is a defect insofar as it would lead us to be indifferent toward sin.

How we deal with our anger matters greatly. Any evil that comes our way must be opposed righteously—always with the goal of fostering the salvation of souls and never to get in a kick to the shins. The crosses, abuses, and frustrations that provoke us to anger are the very stuff of our salvation. That doesn’t mean we simply sit back as passive observers, but when we seek legitimate redress we must unite ourselves more completely to Christ and gratefully welcome these opportunities to grow in grace and virtue through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps the last word should go to St. Catherine of Siena, who said to those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them: "Everything comes from love; all is ordained for the salvation of man; God does nothing without this goal in mind" (Dialogue on Providence, IV.138)."

Published in: on June 9, 2010 at 10:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

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