I work with kids for multiple reasons. Many of those I work with are on the lower end of social skills. They tend to overreact to what happens to them. Many of them have been victims of being bullied, often because others like to see their overreactions.
My job is to help people to learn to control themselves instead of trying to control others.
It is a task that has its foundation in Scripture. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the Jews about it. The Jewish people were focused on how the Roman law allowed a Roman soldier to command a Jewish man or boy to carry his pack for one mile. Of course, many Jews would not carry a single foot past that mile. This caused a tremendous amount of resentment among the Jews.
Jesus teaches that when one cannot control the circumstances that happen to them, they can control their response to those circumstances. Commanded to go one mile? Then carry the burden two miles…
Someone slaps you in the face, then turn the other cheek. You can’t prevent others from doing things to you, you can control how you react.
Christians must remember that we live in a carnal world, with hostile rules, and inequities on every hand. Is the world harsh? Unjust? Unfair? Yes. We live in a world that doesn’t play by our rules.
Not only does Jesus teach this principle, he demonstrates it all throughout his ministry. Amid the accusations of the Jewish leadership, Jesus goes about his mission. It is not redefined by pressure from others. There are no excuses given.
So, tomorrow… if someone is unjustly cross with you. If someone misrepresents what you said or did… If you feel bullied, judged, or put upon… Don’t retaliate. Don’t curse. Don’t abuse in return.
Do speak words of grace. Do respond with kindness. Offer a blessing in exchange for the curse.
When you don’t control the action, be willing to control the reaction.