How to React When a Friend Insults You
Recently I was insulted by a acquaintance who is part of a group that I belong to. At first, I was shocked that this person I thought was a friend had been so rude to me and I promised myself that I would stay away from him in the future. But then I realized that I couldn’t avoid seeing him since he and his wife are part of a group that my husband and I belong to. And I didn’t want to leave the group. What was I to do?
At one time or another, most likely all of us have had our dignity attacked by a friend or an acquaintance. As Christians, what are we to do when this happens? When another person insults us, it can be easy for us to let our anger control us. We can open a door for the devil, if we are not careful! Our hurt feelings can cause us to try to pay the offending person back either with more hurtful words or hateful deeds. As God’s children, we are commanded not to get involved in these “hate” games.
The Bible says: “Be angry and sin not, do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Ephesians 4:26) In other words, don’t stay angry and let hate fester. Give your anger and your problem person up to God. Pray that God will help you move on and not get stuck in unforgiveness, judgments and bad feelings.
Pray that God will surround you with His presence and help you forgive, - help you the next time you run into the offending person. Scripture says: “Dearly beloved, do not pay back the one who sins against you, but give up your anger, for the Lord says: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’” (Romans 12:19) God will deal with any injustice that has been done to you. He will take care of you. Your job is to forgive and forget. Trust God and He will take care of your reputation and the situation.
Scripture commands us to forgive the other person and not to hold a grudge. We are told to pray for our enemies or for those who treat us badly. Matthew 5:44 says: “Love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you.” We can defeat Satan with a good strong love walk. Scripture says: “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:2)
I was upset for a while right after I was insulted. I fumed and fussed and it ruined my day. I lost my blessed peace for a while. One of the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit as believers is the gift of peace. And Christ leaves us His peace also. (Galatians 5:22, John 14:27) But we have to hold onto this gift of peace that we have been given. Never let it go. Do whatever we can to keep peace in our life, as long as we don’t give up what is right and good.
Scripture tells us that we Christians are in a spiritual battle here on earth. A battle between good and evil, and a battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan. Ephesians 6 says that we do not fight against flesh and blood (other people) but against principalities and powers and wickedness in high places. Perhaps we have not been attacked by the person who we are mad at. We have been attacked by Satan.
God gives us weapons to fight the battle. Ephesians 6:14-15 says: “Stand therefore, having clothed your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” One of our weapons in fighting the battle are the shoes of “peace”. Put on those shoes and keep on walking in peace.
We are called as Christians to be peacemakers. Scripture says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) We cannot easily make peace with our enemies if we are not at peace ourselves. And to hold onto the peace God has given us we need to spend time with God. Put Him first and praise and honor Him.
Jesus has this message for us: “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and overburdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “ (Matthew 11:28-29) When you are upset, run to Jesus and spend a little time with Him. Take your problems to Jesus and He will give you rest for your soul!
One-day Jesus was telling his disciples some of the things that will happen in the end times. In those terrible last days there would be wars and famines and earthquakes and Jesus also said that because there will be so many sinful acts happening at that time, “that the love of many people will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12) A great many people will have “cold” love. It is easy to have “cold” love when people insult us or sin against us. And when we see greed, murder, immorality and injustice on every hand. But as Christians we are called to “walk in love”, even when evil is abounding all around us. What kind of brotherhood or sisterhood in Christ do we have if we do not really care for one another?
Some people are afraid to care after they have been hurt in a relationship. We must not use this as an excuse to stop loving. God will heal us from any hurts that we may have received from others, if we allow Him to. St. Paul tell his fellow Christians not to look back but to keep on going forward in Christ. We are called as Christians to walk in love. Scripture says: “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 5:2) We are to follow Christ’s example and walk in His Spirit.
I struggle with this command to love because I become angry when people treat me badly. Instead of gossiping about the person who insulted me or treating him badly in return, I will move on but will not allow this person to humiliate me again. Scripture says we are to be “wise as serpents but harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
It is so easy for me to be selfish and resentful. And I am asking God to help me walk in love. I know that when I live a selfish lifestyle it becomes impossible to walk in the Spirit. The Bible says that love is not selfish or self-seeking. (1 Corinthians 13:5-7) Love does not do the right thing to get something: love simply does the right thing because it is the right thing.
Jesus tells us that when we pray we are to forgive anyone who has hurt us or insulted us. (Mark 11:25) In order to walk in love as God has commanded, we have to take this command to love and forgive seriously. Walking in love is not always easy. It may mean living in a whole new way. Learning to live beyond our feelings. If we try to seriously obey the Lord and walk in love, this love walk will be a blessing to many others. And most of all, it will bring joy to our Lord and Savior who always walks that love walk for you and me!
Some of the ideas in this blog were taken from Joyce Meyer’s book, “Eight Ways to Keep the Devil Under your Feet”