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The Defenseless Life

(Hebrews 10:32-39; Romans 12:17-21)

Lesson 6 -- third quarter 2004
July 11, 2004

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications

Of weakness and meekness

The natural response to oppression and affliction (physical, verbal, or psychological) is to gauge our response by our strength. Those who perceive themselves to be strong will do what they can to protect themselves, even resorting to attacking the attacker. Those who perceive themselves to be weak will flee the oppression or bear it.

The abnormal response is the spiritual. In such a case, the individual who perceives himself to be strong will flee or bear.

This helps me distinguish between meekness and weakness. The weak bears because he can do nothing else. The meek bears because he has chosen not to exercise his power to protect and avenge himself.

Meekness also touches the tongue and the mind -- neither reviles, neither complains, neither glories or gloats in bearing. May God grant me quietness of tongue and heart whenever He calls on me to bear reviling, accusation, affliction, and rejection.

Meekness also pays the bill. Little did Jesus' enemies realize that even as they "went into debt" by oppressing Him, He was gladly paying the price for their forgiveness. That gives meekness a redemptive quality. Jesus was suffering and dying so that He might be able to offer cleansing to those who were making Him suffer and die! No wonder meekness is a fruit of the Spirit! No one could yield such abnormal delicacy without God's Spirit in him.

Of record-keeping and forgiveness

Some of my computer files document some very negative events in some of my past relationships. Though their contents are not inflammatory of themselves, the memories they awaken are potentially very deadly in areas like bitterness, anger, and self-pity. So I have a reminder for myself -- I cannot read these files unless I first type forgive.

Forgiveness is not denial or forgetfulness. Forgiveness remembers; forgiveness acknowledges the wounds and wrong responses...and chooses to forgive anyway! However, we must understand that forgiveness also chooses not to review and refresh the record! I rarely open those computer files and when I do open them, I do so with forgiveness fresh on my mind.

Making peace

Maintaining peace is far easier than restoring peace. Proverbs 18:19 says, "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city." The peacemaker has a tougher assignment than the peacekeeper. Therefore, do all in your power to "live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18). And earnestly "follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" (Romans 14:19). Whatever you do in the face of real or potential conflict, "seek peace, and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14).

Furthermore, when others come to you with their grievances with others, encourage them to do the same as you!

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