Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Servant or Doormat?
How do you know when to stand up for yourself and when to stand down and let something go? I have always struggled with this dilemma until recently. Throughout most of my life, I have allowed people to treat me like their punching bag or doormat thinking that I was doing the right thing by always backing down.
Ever the peacemaker, I was convinced that in order to keep everyone happy and avoid strife and confrontation, I would take the “high road” and be the one to back away from taking a stand. What I have learned recently, is that it takes discernment and self discipline to know when the time is right to rise up and refuse to be mistreated. There are times that call for you to be the champion and a voice for a cause, for another individual or for yourself. There are occasions when it does no one any good to keep silent and not take a stand. There are even situations where others actually benefit from our speaking up and standing our ground.
Of course there are times when it doesn’t cost us a thing to just hold our peace and let another person have their say. Being a servant is not the same as being a doormat. I have been blessed in many instances when I have looked at another person as someone whom I could serve instead of berate. This can be the catalyst for diffusing raw unchecked emotions. It can cause others to stop and realize that someone actually put their needs and feelings above their own.
Do we have the self control and discipline to hold off before reacting? Do we take the time to figure out if it’s worth it before we fly off the handle? Are we willing to compromise as long as it’s not self abusive to do so? Do we have a servant's heart? Do we know how to spot, fairly quickly, if someone is taking advantage and crossing the line? These are all questions that we should ask when confronted with difficult situations.
Never allow yourself to be abused. But, on the other hand, don’t be so quick to react to someone that you cause unnecessary pain to that person. Sometimes confrontation and self indignation serves absolutely no purpose other than to inflict pain on another and sometimes confrontation and righteous indignation is just what is needed. Take the time to access a situation before you respond. That way you will seldom have the wrong reaction.