Bully With a Righteous Cause

by | Mar 25, 2021

There is something that happens to us when we stick up for others. It’s easy to grant ourselves license to do things that are out of character if we’re defending someone or something we care about. If a stranger insults me in public, I won’t react. I’m not built that way. I won’t even remember that it happened a short time later. But if a stranger insults my wife, the situation would be quite different. Those concerned about racial justice rightly understand themselves to be advocating for the downtrodden. That is the godliest of instincts and what God’s people should do (Proverbs 31:9; Micah 6:8). But there is a danger. We who think of ourselves as advocates for the downtrodden can become wrecking balls. We can become like the oppressors that we are working against. We can become bullies ourselves, even with a righteous cause.

Does evil need to be opposed? Yes (Isaiah 5:20). But is it possible to contend with evil and be corrupted by it? Also and all too commonly, yes (Romans 12:21; Galatians 6:1).

Scripture shows us a better way. A harder way, but a better one. The Lord Jesus tells us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). We are commanded to love. Christians are called to love everyone from our enemies to other Christians (John 13:35). Sometimes it’s hardest to love fellow Christians who feel like enemies because of the harsh attitude and tone they have adopted, and we too easily fall into responding in kind.

“But wait! Jesus cleared the Temple with a whip! He called the Pharisees names! He wasn’t some passive doormat,” comes the objection.

Using the example of Jesus in these matters to justify unkindness is poor Bible-reading. It mistakes our role and God’s. While Christians are called to love those who oppose us, God promises to judge and avenge (Romans 12:19). Christians are able to show kindness and love in the face of evil precisely because we trust God to judge evil.

We must also be suspicious of our own anger. When the Lord Jesus experienced anger, he was not compromised by a sinful nature. You and I are. Our motives are always mixed. Scripture is full of warnings to be wary of anger rather than to be guided by it (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26, Proverbs 29:11).

Back to those advocating for racial justice. We must remember that the righteousness of our cause does not justify unrighteousness in our tone or methods. We must not allow a lack of love shown toward us or those we love to push us to engage in similar wicked behavior. We can only do this with the help of God’s Spirit, so we must regularly ask for help. May it never be said of us that we were bullies with a righteous cause.

 


Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that God would help you not return evil for evil.
  2. Pray that Christians would more clearly show the fruit of the Spirit in our interactions with each other.
  3. Pray that God uses the kindness of Christians as a witness to a watching world.

 

Recent POdcasts

Biblical Theology: The Exile | Interracial Marriage

Biblical Theology: The Exile | Interracial Marriage

Biblical Theology: The Exile | Interracial Marriage What does the Bible say about interracial marriage? Adrianna Anderson and Austin Suter continue this exploration of Biblical Theology as we look at Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah, and Ezra. These books represent the exile...

read more
Biblical Theology: History Books | Race in the Bible

Biblical Theology: History Books | Race in the Bible

Biblical Theology: History Books | Race in the Bible Is the idea of race in the Bible? In the last episode of this series, Adrianna Anderson joined Austin to study the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. This week, we’re looking at the history books of the Old...

read more

Upcoming Events

Isaac-Adams-United-We-Pray-speaking-at-an-event

Click Here to View Now

Recent Articles

Anthropology and Antisemitism

Anthropology and Antisemitism

Antisemitism is back in the news. Multiple presidents of prominent universities were recently summoned to Congress to testify about a rise in antisemitic incidents on their campuses. Their refusal to answer questions about whether antisemitism violates school policies...

read more
Dear White Woman

Dear White Woman

I don’t run at night or before the sun comes up. I wonder if you don’t either. While my husband can strap on a headlamp and reflectors and hit the neighborhood running, I have to be more cautious—even in the suburbs. Common sense tells women that running in the dark...

read more
Church, Diversity, and the Questions Kids Ask

Church, Diversity, and the Questions Kids Ask

A few years ago, our family attended an anniversary service for a good friend who pastored a church in our city. Like you would expect when visiting a church, we were greeted at the door by smiling faces and eager handshakes. People were excited to show us to our...

read more

We’d love to hear what you think about this article. Submit your feedback by clicking here to contact us.

Author

  • Austin Suter

    Austin is the executive director and editor for U?WP. He is a husband, father and seminary student at RTS Charlotte. Austin is a member at Iron City Church in Birmingham, AL. @amsuter

Related Articles

Dear White Woman

Dear White Woman

Courtney Reissig shares her experience of choosing to run at specific times of day in order to stay safe. She reflects on her own privilege and how she might leverage that in service of her minority brothers and sisters.

read more

Stay Connected