No matter what we do, our Christian faith is not going to please everyone. That’s a given. When someone has a bone to pick with us, it can feel like a low blow when they call us out on our Christian faith like one bully I know. Especially when it’s a Christian friend.
In my case, the bully didn’t win. But he wounded me and as a result, and I got stronger.
Plan in advance how to react to a taunt about your Christian faith.
Someone phoned me out of the blue one day. This person reacted poorly to something heard in a conversation. Accusations of lying and other sins pierced my ears.
I found myself in an awkward situation. The caller believed something that wasn’t true and accused me of it. No matter how many times I denied it and explained the actual facts, the caller persisted in an erroneous belief. It led to the question asked of me that resonated like a gut punch:
“And you call yourself a Christian?”
If you’ve never been accused of acting in an unChristian-like manner, this story provides an opportunity to prepare your response in advance. I invite you to view this story as an excellent spiritual exercise for your soul.
What is a proper response to this question: And you call yourself a Christian?
a) How dare you question my faith.
b) Yes, I am a Christian and a better one than you. I would never attack someone like this.
c) No Christian is perfect or without sin.
d) Yes and it seems Christ will forgive me before you will.
Taunts like this question should not receive a direct response. People throw taunts in an attempt to get a rise out of us. If we choose to rise to their bait—throw a taunt back—we give up our peace.
Any attempt to defend your Christianity and belief in Jesus Christ during an emotional tirade proves pointless. That said, the temptation to do just that licks at you like a hot flame. The taunt stings. Like a bug bite, if you scratch at it, you spread the venom.
What to do? How to defend Christian faith when someone challenges us?
Faith defense: Say an arrow prayer QUICK!
A little arrow prayer helps. Before you open your mouth and say something you’ll regret, an arrow prayer bridges you to God’s grace.
An arrow prayer is a quick, short prayer to God for help. It’s a quick request for grace to override our first instincts. For strength. For calm. For protection.
When someone taunts you or challenges us, our natural reaction is one of defense. On our own, our jaw sets. Our stomach clenches. Our fist tightens.
Your first desire? Fight back with a response you will probably later regret.
Pray fast. End with a “Thank you” as instructed in Phillippians 4:6 “with thanksgiving, present your requests to God .”
Here’s an example of an arrow prayer for this instance:
“O LORD, help me with this irate person. Thank you.”
Instead of verbally striking back, you launch a distress flare to heaven. With a deep, calming breath and an inward glance to our heart, you find God’s immediate answer. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would give us the words when they’re needed.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Phillipians 4:7
Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.Proverbs 21:23
God’s grace flows lightning fast to a heart seeking God’s help in times of need. Grace helps us keep the tone of our voice or text in check and to choose our words carefully so as not to inflame a sparking situation. I’m not saying I didn’t raise my voice in this incident, but I heard myself ask: Why am I shouting back? As a result, I immediately lowered my voice and spoke calmly. That’s grace at work.
How to stop a negative reaction to a faith challenge
When we find ourselves on the receiving end of a bullying comment or taunt, we feel our face flush, adrenaline pulse through us, and defensive body responses course into readiness. So first shoot an arrow prayer.
Next, after a prayer heavenward, I find it’s helpful to quickly remember what I know about good and evil. It helps stall my reaction. In other words, doing a quick mental review of good and evil helps me get a grip on overriding my primal responses, already geared for action.
The review also helps me choose on what side I’m gonna stand firm.
For example, my review might look like this:
Evil seeks disruption. God seeks mercy.
God seeks to unify. Evil seeks to divide.
Evil hates. God loves.
Evil excludes. God includes.
Finally, from the following Scripture verses, choose one to memorize so you can recall them in a time of need.
When you are tempted, (God) will provide a way out.1Corinthians 10:13
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”1 Corinthians 15:13
What fellowship can light have with darkness?”2 Corinthians 6:14
Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.Proverbs 25:26
Away from me, you evil doers, that I may keep the commands of my God!Psalm 119:115
TIP to Memorize Scripture
Are you feeling afraid you may not remember any of the above Scriptures when you are under attack? Here’s a tip to keep one or more of them fresh in your mind.
Since many sites require us to change passwords occasionally for security purposes, one easy way to memorize Scripture is to create a new password with the verse you want to learn. Most passwords need a numeral, an upper case and lower case letters, for instance. Use the first letters of each word in your chosen Scripture to create a new password. Use the numbers 1 and 2 for I and to.
For example: “Grant me insight that I may keep your law” (Psalm 119:34 JB) could become the password: Gmit1mkyl, a 9-character password with a capital letter, numeral and lower case letters.
“Away from me, you evil doers, that I may keep the commands of my God!” could become a 15 character password Afmyedt1mktcomG! is another example.
Or type the first section of the scripture, word for word, as your password e.g. Turnawaythetaunts! (Psalm 119: 39). As a result of using this method of creating a new password, I find myself saying Scripture every time I type a password. After a while, it becomes ingrained in your mind and becomes a ready weapon when the Evil One tries to tempt us.
Take-away thoughts for defending your Christian faith.
So, a taunt offers you an opportunity to exercise your spiritual muscles as you strengthen your Christian faith and memorize Scripture. One response you can rehearse when someone taunts you is to lift her or him in prayer. With the wheelbarrow of mercy, pour your forgiveness into the hole in his or her heart with Grace, for and through Love.
Each time you rerun the incident in your mind, think of it as an opportunity to mix in a little spiritual Miracle Grow with those thoughts. Pour out such unhelpful thoughts like compost into the hole where you planted forgiveness.
Depositing our stinky thoughts in the compost pile of forgiveness and prayer does wonders for building our Christian faith and acting as Jesus did. Instead of feeling bad as an incident reruns in our mind, we can turn it for good and compost it in our forgiveness pile.
Gratitude and endurance.
Finally, pray a prayer of gratitude for the person who helped you exercise your heart muscles once again. Sometimes your best defense is offense.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.Psalm 27:17
We endure what we must in this world of darkness and sin. We regret when we contribute to it and therefore seek God’s forgiveness. So let each persecution we experience teach us something. Recognize it as an exercise for our most important muscles of faith.
Cling to the Lord in times of trial and taunts. Our behaviors, our responses to situations of bullying or taunting may be one of our best ways of evangelizing others.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.Proverbs 22:24-25
If you’re a fan of Star Wars, remember this about taunts: “It’s a trap!”