I’d like to get one thing straight. Just because I love Jesus and try to do as He would do, does not mean I am passive when myself or someone I love is disrespected.
A good friend of mine is a psychologist, and has amazing insight into what it means to cultivate and foster relationships with people. She describes it this way:
Imagine you have a little yard. When you are friends with someone, you invite them into your yard, because you like them and enjoy spending time with them, and they make your yard look and feel nice. You, in turn, are invited (hopefully) into their yard because they like your company and you make their yard feel nice.
But what about those people who drain you? Those people you invite into your yard and they cut all the grass and flowers away, or scatter garbage, or, worse, maybe even leave a pile of poop? Do you continue to let them into your yard because you’re a “good” Christian and the general (mis)conception is that Christians take it without standing up for themselves or the ones they love? No.
If you’ve got someone coming into your yard messing it up, someone who keeps taking what you pour into them to make their yard nice without pouring into you to make your yard nice, you’re not being a “good” Christian. You’re being a door mat. Being a Christian doesn’t equal being a pushover.
Just because we follow Jesus, and forgive our trespassers, doesn’t mean we keep inviting them back when they vandalize our yards. Just because we follow Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t have to set healthy boundaries for people, and speak up for ourselves and others. Jesus was the ultimate example of this. He spoke up for the least of these. He told us to turn the other cheek, yes, but he didn’t say keep letting someone abuse you. If you don’t believe me, here are a few examples of Jesus setting boundaries and not being a door mat:
In Luke 4:28-30, He fights His way through a crowd closing in on Him to throw Him off a cliff for claiming to be the Messiah.
In Matthew 16:23, He tells Peter and His disciples He isn’t their political king or warrior, but He’s their sacrificial lamb.
In Matthew 21:12-17, He clears out the vendors and money changers using God’s house (the temple) as a marketplace.
In John 8:1-11, He challenges the woman caught in adultery’s accusers by confronting their pride and opening their eyes to their own sin (“He who is without sin can throw the first stone”).