1) It is fun in playing game: Have you ever played with ¡°bumper cars¡± at an amusement park? You know you will be hit, you just don¡¯t know how hard, sometime harder than you want. When you get hit, you step on the pedal, chase the one who has just hit you, and hope to hit that person harder than they have bumped you. That is the fun part of the game. That may be a fun strategy for bumper cars, but it¡¯s a terrible strategy in real life. When you get bumped in real life, bumping back harder usually escalates matters and in the end everyone suffers damage some times beyond your control.
2) But it isn¡¯t fun in real life: Jesus had a better strategy for us to handle ¡°getting bumped¡± in real life: Forgive those who had bumped us. We may react like Peter, wonder how many times we have to forgive those who hit us hard, ¡°Up to seven times?¡± But Jesus answered ¡°Up to seventy times seven.¡± (Matt 18:21-22) In other words, there is no limit in grace to those who hit us. We should always extend grace of forgiveness. Why? Jesus explained that we forgive not because our offenders deserve it but because we have been forgiven. ¡°I forgave you...because you begged me. Should you not also have compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?¡± (18:32-33)
GETTING BUMPED IS PART OF
1) The world is not a perfect place: The world may not be a play ground for bumper cars where you know you will get bumped, but you will get bumped anyway no matter what. Just look at the school you go, the place you work, the neighbors around you and the fellow drivers you share the roadways each and everyday, it is far less safe or friendly than you want them to be and that is real life. This is a sin-infested world, including you and me, and we are far from being perfect to live perfect life that no one may bump someone else in real life. Jesus tried to comfort his disciples when he said, ¡°I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I had overcome the world.¡± (John 16:33)
2) You are in someone else way: Unlike riding bumper cars people hit you on purpose for fun; in real life, most people don¡¯t hit you for fun, they hit you because you are in their way. When people see or feel that you are interfering their agenda, hurting their goal of life or things they want to achieve, they hit you and hit you hard if you don¡¯t get away. This happens in politics, at work, in business world and other areas of real life: People will bump you down and out if you happen to stand in their way. More than once, I got myself in those dumb situations and was bruised badly because I stick my nose where it didn¡¯t belong. King Solomon warned us not to get involved with other people business, ¡°Like a man who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.¡± (Proverbs 26:17)
3) You won¡¯t compromise principle: This is another situation that guarantees you will get bumped: You take a stand on principle and you won¡¯t compromise. Jesus did this. Peter did this. Paul did this and millions of faithful God¡¯s people did this: They take godly principles of life so seriously and refused to compromise so they got bumped out and down. But this is a worthy course to get bumped. Jesus said, ¡°Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.¡± (Matt )
4) You suffer your own consequence: More than we want to admit is this: We get bumped because we did wrong both to man and to God. Although we wish that the sins in our life never catch up with us but they do. King David mourned on the effects of his sins as he wrote: ¡°For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me and I cannot see.¡± (Psalm 40:12) If we confess our sins, God will forgive, (1 John 1:9) but we still have to pay the price or suffer the consequences of them and bear the scar for the rest of our life. Jesus taught us to make peace with those whom we have sinned against so we may have peace of mind to offer sacrifices to God. (Matt 5:23-26)
WHY DO WE WANT TO BUMP BACK?
1) It is in our human nature: All you need to see this is watching how little kids play: You push me, I will push you back. You play nasty with me I¡¯ll be nastier my next move. I don¡¯t know why and how this comes from, but it is true almost in all cases in kids play. It is so hard to ask any kid not to push back.
2) We don¡¯t want to be weak: Being pushed around and not push back is a sign of being weak, or it seems that way. No one wants to be seen as weak particularly in the public eyes. So, push back is a way to show strength to protect dignity.
3) It is a matter of survival: In a world of fierce fight to survive, to fight back is part of survival. If one is pushed around all the time, soon everyone will jump on his head to take advantage of him. Since the world¡¯s space and resources for survival is not in unlimited supply, you can¡¯t allow others to bump you out all the time and still hoping to survive well.
4) Fighting fire with fire: In some cases the best way to defense is to offence. That is the same as fighting fire with fire. You need to bump them out to stop them from bumping you again and again. This is similar to gunboat diplomacy in world politics.
BUT THERE IS A BETTER WAY: (Matthew 18:23-35)
1) That is the right thing to do: ¡°The master said: I forgave all your debt because you begged me to. Shouldn¡¯t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?¡± (18:32-33) The point Jesus tried to stress is we should forgive others as God had forgiven us, but that is exactly most of us don¡¯t do: We love to see God forgives us, but we are reluctant to forgive others.
2) We risk losing God¡¯s mercy: ¡°In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back his debt. This is how my heaven Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.¡± (18:34-35) I don¡¯t mean that God¡¯s mercy on us depends on how we act or not act, but being a God of justice, we forfeit our position to receive his mercy when we are hardened not to forgive our brothers.
3) God promised his justice: ¡°The Lord will defend the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man may terrifying (them) no more.¡± (Psalm 10:18) Paul advised us, ¡°Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for God¡¯s wrath, for it is written: ¡°It is mine to avenge; I will repay,¡± says the Lord. (Romans 12:19) We need to trust our Lord and his justice in protecting the good and punishing the bad. We don¡¯t have to fight our own battle to protect ourselves, God will do it for us.
4) God has a higher purpose: ¡°Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really serve to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guards and to everyone else that I am in chain for Christ. Because of my chains most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word more boldly and fearlessly.¡± (Phil 1:12-14) Sometimes God allows us to be bullied, pushed around and we suffer for a greater good course, as Paul was in this case. Our fighting back may well jeopardize the great plan God has in our lives. So, instead of bump back, fight hard or complain, we are to ask God for strength to go through his plans to bring out His purpose in us for his glory.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) Beyond the bumper car ring: Life in this world is like riding bumper cars each and everyday in the ring: You will get bumped with or without warning. Most of the bumps we take are not our choice and we have little or no control of them. What we have in control is the way we react to them. If we react to them in negative ways, we may put ourselves in harms way by escalating the matter that may end up inflicting damages to all parties concerned.
2) God¡¯s way is a better way: As children of God, we are to act or react to bumps God¡¯s way. We need to know that our ultimate protection or defense is from God, not from ourselves. In all our life experiences, be it on smooth ride or in a stormy sea, we realize that God is our best refuge and protection. Just as King David claimed in his writing when he faced great danger and stress in his life: ¡°In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?¡± (Psalm 56:11)