Fighting for my Rights

    

The pure essence of Christmas is a spirit of giving …and I don’t mean presents    God gave his only son to us knowing full well that Jesus’ sole purpose was to die for our sins…a total sacrifice.  He did this in spite of the fact that the very ones he died for mistreated, abandoned, falsely accused, and killed Him.  It strikes me hard that our world view isn’t one of self sacrifice but rather one of fighting for our rights and forcing others to do what we think is right.  More and more, I am seeing the fallacy in this viewpoint and believe that it leads to anger, depression, and despair because trying to make someone else do something that we believe is right is an exercise in futility.  We will never get the result that we hope for by forcing someone’s free will.  Even God doesn’t do that.

Recently I have been studying Genesis with focus on the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  They responded differently in their way of dealing with difficult situations than what we do today. Below is an example of just one: 

Genesis 26.  Isaac and his family lived in the land of Gerar.  He had been greatly blessed by God and was very prosperous.  The men of Gerar became envious and told Isaac that he must leave the city.  In other words they forced him out from his home.  Isaac packed up without a fight and moved to a nearby valley. In his new home, Isaac’s servants dug a well for the family and livestock but the local shepherds argued with him and told Isaac that the well was theirs.  Isaac surrendered the well without further argument and his servants moved on and dug another well.  Again the shepherds of Gerar came and argued with Isaac that the well was theirs and after the initial argument was lost Isaac let it go.  After these three events; home loss once and well loss twice there is no mention of Isaac feeling self pity or anger, instead his servants started all over again and dug yet another well.  This time the shepherds left them alone and the well became the property of Isaac.  God prospered Isaac even more in every way.

Pondering this situation, I believe that most of us would have fought much longer than Isaac to keep what was rightfully ours.  We wouldn’t allow anyone to kick us out of the neighborhood and we sure wouldn’t surrender our wells if it was our only source of water.   We would however, file law suits, call the media, and file charges of theft and maybe discrimination.  This seems the right way to handle such circumstances and it is what our world tells us to do.  After all we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be walked upon.
I’m not certain however, that that is what God tells us to do. 
Unfortunately, the stress brought on from fighting for our “rights” destroys our health mentally and physically and robs us of God’s blessings.  
Choosing a peaceful, non-combative attitude doesn’t mean that we are to be victims. Isaac didn’t behave like an oppressed victim even though after his initial effort to keep the wells, he walked away.  A victim would have stayed with the disputed wells and paid the shepherds for the water that they discovered.  After a brief argument, Isaac let go of the object of controversy by going somewhere else to start anew where he could have peace and freedom.    
           
When faced with unfair treatment, maybe it’s time to try a new path…which is really an old path.  It’s a path however, that leads to great blessings from God and teaches us humility.

This Christmas season let’s give a small gift back to our God by thinking less about our “rights.”  Could it be that we have become too combative and too worried about trying to make life fair? Perhaps we need to think more about how we should change and what we can personally sacrifice for God and man.  Maybe it’s time to honor our God in each situation and allow Him to fight our battles more often.  As we do, God will give us direction whether we should leave a situation in search of peace like Isaac did, or if we should allow God to change us right where we are.

Isaac didn’t believe that his home or his wells were worth fighting over for long.  He trusted God to vindicate him and he moved on in humility and peace.  In this attitude, God more than made up for the losses and poured great blessings on Isaac and his family.   God’s ways are mysterious to man but they are always best.

May the Blessings of Almighty God be upon you and yours.
Rhonda Shelford Jansen