Thursday, March 19, 2009


Stop Being A Doormat

What ever happened to the words of Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive"? (Acts 20:35) The idea of sacrifice and giving ourselves in service to others is viewed by many today as one of those ridiculous little outdated standards that we have done well to abandon.

Not long ago I watched some folks being interviewed on one of those daytime talk shows had the "guts" (according to the host) to stand up for themselves in life. They were then contrasted with "those 'wimps' that enjoyed being taken advantage of by serving people." One lady boasted of having over fifty jobs in the past several years because she refused to lower herself to serve her boss.

The audience applauded.

Since the '60's, millions of children have been raised with no idea of how to "sacrifice" for other people. Our society has glorified the "do what you want" ideology to such an extreme that most don't understand the concept of servanthood, much less practice it.

Most enter jobs, marriages, friendships, decisions, whatever, with a "what's in it for me" mentality. All they are interested in is, "Gimme this. Gimme that. Gimme what I want". We have developed a whole generation of "Gimme" Monsters. The "Me──Me──Me" Gimme Monster lifestyle is ultimately destructive. People who are like this can hardly get along with themselves, much less with another human being.

It is true that there are individuals who let others step on them because they are just weak people. These individuals are incapable of defending themselves. But this is not what it means to be a servant. God does not want us to think we are worthless beings that should be run over. We are creations of God and as such possess dignity and certain "inalienable rights."

But knowing who we are is not to be a foundation for living selfishly and for ourselves; understanding ourselves and our rights prepares us with the necessary strength to really serve others. Actually, the Bible teaches us that being a servant is not for weak people. It can only be expressed by individuals who have a strong sense of personal worth and freedom. Scripture says, "For you were called to freedom, only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13) Selfish people can’t serve others. They care only about themselves. They don't care about the thoughts and feelings of other people.

You may think, "EEEK, if I do this, people will take complete advantage of me!” Truth is, it will often look like that when you give yourself selflessly in relationships. However, keep in mind the God-factor. God promises to get involved and protect us when we reach out and continue giving to people who try to take advantage of us. Pr. 25:21-22, "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you."

Romans 8 suggests that when you walk the life of a servant, you will look like a lamb led to the slaughter. "Just as it is written, 'For thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'" (Romans 8:36) But that is not the end of the story. Verse 37 says, "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us."

Again, God is not calling us to be doormats who allow people to walk all over us. We are NEVER to allow folks to abuse us emotionally or physically—you need to run from situations like that (emotionally, if not physically—remember David in the Old Testament who ran from abusive King Saul?). The idea of selflessness can only be born out of strength, not a sense of worthlessness or low self-esteem. Grow and get strong so you can serve well and change the world!

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