Imagine you were in an executive meeting where ideas to solve a nagging problem were laid on the table and every member of the board was to contribute.
Before then, to hone in your contribution, you’ve done your due diligence by spending time and resources to research the problem, and eventually came up with a foolproof solution.
Meanwhile, in the process of sharing your contribution at the meeting, a junior colleague stood up to oppose your idea on baseless grounds. Unfortunately, other members of the board agreed with the opposer because he is a relative to the CEO of the company.
What would be your first reaction to this unjust opposition? Outrage? Anger? Hatred? Nostalgia? Confusion? Withdrawal?
Sometimes, the ways Christians respond to opposition are far from ideal. When we lash out in anger or draw back in fear when faced with opposition, we empower the opposer to do more next time. Rather, we must step out boldly and courageously to face the opposition.
Tips To Help You Deal With Oppositions
1. Don’t Be Surprised
Opposition isn’t new or strange. It’s normal. Apostle Paul reminds Christians that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). In the same way, Jesus recalls that, “they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). Don’t be surprised because God certainly isn’t.
2. Calm Your Outrage
The constantly outraged Christian is a sad sight. Don’t respond to opposition with that toxic blend of fear and anger. Respond with grace and truth. The words “outrage” and “courage” both have the word “rage” in them. Yet, they’re totally different attitudes. We need less reactionary outrage and more courageous love.
3. Be a Man of Prayer
Opposition is spiritual warfare. It comes to prove your faithfulness to the lordship of Christ. Therefore, you need to pray when faced with opposition.
As a Christian author noted, prayer “is to pervade all our spiritual warfare.” Prayer for wisdom, discernment, power, humility, clarity, and grace should accompany any thought of confronting opposition.
4. Walk in Humility
The call to humility mirrors Jesus’ life (Matthew 11:29). He knew when to confront and when to remain silent.
With humility, a Christian recognizes the truth about himself and God and doesn’t confuse them. He understands that only God can change hearts. Humility would help you approach opposition with the deep consciousness that you are simply a vessel the Lord might use, not the hero of sorting out matters with your contenders.
5. Have a Right Attitude
Few things can be worse than an angry, bitter Christian attempting to deal with opposition. Before confronting it, you need to know you’ve dealt with your sinful attitudes and bitter spirits.
Forgiving those in opposition (Ephesians 4:29 – 5:2) and walking carefully in the Lord’s will and the Spirit’s fullness (Ephesians 5:15–21) would help.
So, check your heart before taking one step toward dealing with opposition. Sometimes, the biggest problem isn’t in somebody else.
6. Discern whether to let it go or confront
If someone makes a stinging or untrue remark about you, you need to decide if it’s (a) an instrument to humble you to trust the Lord more, (b) an unfortunate misunderstanding, and (c) something unfair but not worth risking a relationship over.
Often, the little nipping at the heels or nicks on the chins just doesn’t merit spending time – trying to unravel who said what and why. Unless it affects your personal relationship with God, it may not rise to the need for confrontation.
7. Leave the matter in God’s hands
When you have prayed, approached the situation with humility, prepared your heart before God, and discerned the best way to act or to remain silent, you must entrust the opposition and its dangling effects to the hands of God.
The Lord has ample power to work in the situation that has caused so much anguish.
8. Share Your Hope
In a world like ours, if your life is marked by grace, truth, love, integrity, hospitality and Christian warmth, people will eventually ask what’s wrong with you. So, develop “gospel fluency,” and stay ready to answer people’s questions and challenges.
If you’re a Christian, you have a mesmerizing hope (1 Peter 3:15). Hence, be prepared to share it.
9. Let love lead you
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but rather bless your enemies (1 Peter 3:9). Ultimately, it’s never you versus them. It’s Jesus for all. It’s the gospel for all. It’s grace and truth for all. The best way to imitate Christ is to treat people well when they wrong you. Loving your enemies, whether individual or collective, means treating others like Jesus has treated you.
10. Look on the bright side
Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). Darkness has never stopped the dawn. So you have every reason to fix your eyes on the far horizon.
Hope that God will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. Anticipate your eternal glory in Christ. Jesus is coming back; so when the night deepens, stay on the trail, and look to the east.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called you unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).
Conclusively, consider these before regarding opposition. This may offer you encouragement to navigate such times. Remember that:
- The Lord may be pruning you;
- The Lord may be teaching you to rely on Him;
- The Lord may be exposing error and ungodliness in your life ; and
- The Lord may be setting the stage for future changes that will expand your testimony.
In fact, expect opposition to arise from time to time because of its nature as a spiritual conflict. Ultimately, though, you must learn to trust the Lord with opposition, also learn the lessons He would teach you through relational challenges.