If there is one consistent thing in the world of social media it is how easy it is to be attacked by someone who has a different opinion than yours. We live in a world right now where any opposing view point presents as an accusation – that we are wrong, that we are bad, that we are stupid.
The anonymity of being online makes people feel comfortable saying things they would never say in person. Hurtful things.
When we feel accused we get defensive. When we get defensive we put our guard up. Relationships get weird. We choose sides. We look at the people on the other side as our enemy. Our instinct is to fight back.
How can followers of Jesus respond in a better way when we feel attacked? There are three ways we can respond that can change both our circumstances and how we see them.
1. Let God fight your battle for you
You don’t have to defend yourself when you feel under attack, God will do it for you.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
The Bible is full of examples of people who believed that God was bigger than their enemies and let him fight their battles for them. And time after time they saw unexpected victories they never could have won on their own. Remember that your victory comes from God alone. He is the refuge where no enemy can even reach you.
2. Let God deal with your attackers
When we are right and someone else is wrong all we want to do is make sure everyone knows it. We disprove their facts. We pick apart their argument. We point out their errors in judgment. And it feels good to do it.
But Jesus did the opposite.
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
2 Peter 2:21-23
Jesus didn’t judge the people who attacked him. He focused on his mission and left his attackers to God to deal with. He didn’t need to take them down because he trusted God would take care of it in the way he thought was best.
When you feel under attack, don’t let your attackers live rent free in your head. Don’t waste time and energy on anger or retaliation. Let God deal with them. He’ll get it right.
3. Shut your mouth
Words tend to be like boomerangs. When we throw them at someone else they tend to come back and hit us. Most of the damage we do to ourselves happens when we just can’t keep our mouths shut.
Jesus had a different approach.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Don’t respond to harsh words with harsh words. Just shut up. You will never hurt yourself or someone else with words you never say.
God never intended for us to fight with each other. His heart is for unity in all of life’s relationships. That’s why we never have to take the fight to someone who is attacking us. When you live surrendered to God you have the benefit of his backup.
He will fight your battles.
He will deal with your attackers.
He will help you stay strong while you wait on him to move.
Don’t let someone else’s attack be the thing that tears you down. When we respond like Jesus did, the victory will always be ours.