Paul expected the Corinthians to understand that Jesus wasn’t only their Saviour, but also their Lord. God was in charge, and nothing could happen to them without his permission. At one point he exhorted them with these words: “Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated?” (1 Corinthians 6:7 NLT). This is a huge challenge. It means I don’t have to wrestle for my rights or worry about being ripped off. However, neither do I need to behave like a doormat. Rather I live my life being deeply convinced that I have a Heavenly Father, who will take care of me.
We see this attitude in Abram, who said to Lot in Genesis 13:8-9: “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine … Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” Abram was older than Lot and therefore entitled to first choice, but instead he let Lot choose first. Abram didn’t cling to the things of this world because he had the long-term view in mind, and he knew nothing could thwart God’s purpose for his life. Nor was Abram worried about temporary inconveniences. The land Lot left to Abram was rocky and hilly, but Abram wasn’t concerned. It goes against the attitude of our world, which is very much focused on getting the best for ourselves. Abram accepted mistreatment at Lot’s hands with a “1 Corinthians 6:7” attitude. He let himself be cheated of what was rightfully his, leaving the outcome to God.
Accepting mistreatment isn’t for the young in the Lord, and it is only possible if we have the assurance that God is in control of all the circumstances of our lives. If we are not convinced God controls our circumstances and we merely acquiesce to the wishes of others for the sake of peace we will find ourselves being a doormat. This is not God’s intention.
Accepting mistreatment doesn’t mean never speaking up or expressing a choice or opinion but it does mean not fighting, being manipulative or domineering just to get our own way.