Should a Christian insist on his rights?



God provides for individual rights

The Bible does not advocate that God’s people shall have no rights. It provides for the rights of individuals even right down to specific cases. For example, the Bible mentions rights for widows.

(Mat 22:24 NIV)  “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him.

God wants us to forgo our rights if it can promote peace

(1 Cor 6:5-7 NIV)  I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? {6} But instead, one brother goes to law against another–and this in front of unbelievers! {7} The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

(Mat 5:38-41 NIV)  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ {39} But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. {40} And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. {41} If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

God blesses us if we give up our rights
Example of Abraham

Genesis 13:5­9 (NIV) Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9 Is not the whole land before you? 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.”

Abraham avoided conflict at all cost. He was willing to forego his rights even though as Lot’s uncle, he could have insisted on choosing first.

The land that Lot chose was the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which were eventually destroyed by God because of their evil deeds. Abraham, on the other hand, was promised by God that wherever his feet landed, God will give the land to him and his descendants.

Example of Ruth

The story in the book of Ruth starts with a lady called Naomi who went to a foreign country to escape the famine in her country. There, her husband and two sons died and left her alone with her two daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah. Naomi persuaded both of them to start their lives afresh. Orpah took the advice and left Naomi but Ruth decided to stay on an be a blessing to her. Even though she has the right to do so, she decided to forgo her rights so that her mother-in-law would be looked after.

(Ruth 1:16-17 NIV) But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. {17} Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”

The rest of the book of Ruth tells us how God blessed her as a result of her giving up her rights. She met a good man Boaz who married and looked after her.

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