Yes, you read that right. How do you lose a battle? One of the obvious ways is not to fight. If they want to take over and you don’t put up any resistance then they will win. Of course, if they win you lose. Here are some possible reasons why this happens.
We think resistance is futile
Those come in to take over have tried this approach on many occasions. Crumbs it is even in the bible! The enemy comes in and says we have taken over these people and these people and these people so you don’t stand a chance.
There are times when the enemy’s message is don’t bother to fight back because even if you do we will win. Why not save yourself the bother of fighting us and let us march in and take over.
A subtle variation of this is the view that the world will get darker as the end draws near. There is no point in fighting back as the sooner it gets dark the sooner we will be airlifted out of here. It is going to happen anyway so there is no point wasting the time and effort required to fight back. Resistance is hard work. Why not take it easy and let them win especially if it suits our long term goals.
We think fighting back is wrong
There are some situations where Christians are taught to submit. Submit to leaders and do as they ask. There are those who say husbands and wives should submit to each other and some who major on the wives submitting to the husband.
This submission thing can be taken to extremes. I once saw someone who was very upset because she had been told in no uncertain terms that she should have done what her husband had told her to do. Why? Her husband was in the hospital so surely it did not matter? Apparently, her ability to submit to her husband was an important part of her development.
The problem was that her husband was locked up in a psychiatric ward. The staff there said that he was incapable of making a sensible decision for himself. His request was driven by paranoia i.e an unreasonable abnormal unbounded fear. The same excessive overbearing fear that had lead to him being forced into the hospital in the first place.
In this situation submission had become more important than common sense. Well, would you switch the freezer off because your husband is scared that you might use too much electricity? Especially when there was food in it that would go to waste. Food that would cost more to replace than you would save by switching off the freezer.
Later I found out that his wife was not allowed to put a light on so had to come downstairs in the dark. Not only that but she could not put on the TV or the radio. When a friend came in to help her and insisted on using the hoover he kept going on about the electricity bill. The only way to shut him up was to give him twice as much as it actually cost to use the hoover even though it was too few coins to buy anything with.
Yet learning to submit in that situation was supposed to contribute towards the wife’s development! The reality was that she was expected to accept and submit to abuse. Was there really any value in accepting pain and not squealing in pain as a result? Submission to behaviour like that cannot do anyone any good.
The thing is that submission to the wrong source of authority can be unhelpful in the least and dangerous in the extreme. That then begs the question how do you know who to submit to?
James in his contribution to ancient wisdom offers some excellent advice. Submit to God and then the enemy will flee from you. It is not husband not employer who some first when thinking about submission it is God. The thing is that acting on the instructions given by God trumps or takes over from those given by any other authority.
What do we do when facing difficult situations?
Ever heard the story that Jesus told about the man who was asked to go with the soldier for one mile but actually went with him for two. You could think that what He is talking about is not just be bit submissive but you really need to become a doormat and do more than you are asked to do. However, what if the soldier was only allowed to ask for help for one mile and would get into a lot of trouble if it was discovered someone was doing more than that. That would put quite a different slant on the story wouldn’t it? That would become submitting to someone in such a way that they were hurt by your actions.
That is creative, isn’t it. Most people would be annoyed at going the first mile and ve glad to stop after that. By keeping going you were literally hurting them by being too kind. It is amazing how the meaning behind the story changes when you know the background behind it.
That is the kind of creative advice I would love to have when facing difficult situations. It is far better than the one size fits all you must do this and this all the time. It is also why I hate giving “you must do this” type of advice. I much prefer “have you thought about doing this”.
You see I know one thing for certain and that is I am not God. Yes, a friend of His and even close enough to be considered His daughter. I know He wants to be with me so much that He has made it possible for me to join Him in heaven.
If I was God then I would be able to give you the perfect advice for your situation. I am not so I cannot give you perfect advice. My advice is always going to be flawed and leave something to be desired. I can give suggestions but ultimately the best thing I can ever do for anyone is to say go and ask God and get His guidance on what is the right thing to do in your circumstances.
It is not a cop out it is putting the responsibility firmly where it should be with you. OK if you really need some back up, for example, prayer support, no problem. What you do is ultimately your responsibility? This includes what battles you fight and how you fight them.
How do you respond to this idea?
Have you ever been in a situation where you have been so overwhelmed by issues that you have not known what to do? What happened? Have you, like me, leaned on on others then found that they were imperfect so struggled as a result? Do you have a story that you can safely tell so that others can learn from it?