Saturday, March 17, 2012

How to Face Opposition Part 2: When Things Turn Violent

Debates are the Presidents best forum because he is well prepared

You can read part one about dealing with insults here. It is a fact of life that we run into opposition. Seemingly no matter the size of the project there will be people that argue, disagree, or even sabotage what we're doing. Therefore if we know it's coming, we must prepare. Let's look back about 2500 years to see how Nehemiah stood against opposition.

You can read the remarkable story of Nehemiah here
Quick background on Nehemiah:
  • Cup Barer to the most powerful man in the world, King Artaxerxes.
  • One day while doing his courtly duties the king noticed how sad Nehemiah was.
  • The King asked how he could fix Nehemiah's sadness.
  • Nehemiah said that if he could go rebuild the walls of his home town Jerusalem he'll feel better.
  • The Persian King makes the Jewish Nehemiah governor of Jerusalem
  • Nehemiah travels 1000 miles to build a 12 mile of walls around Jerusalem.
  • During the 52 days it took the Israelites to rebuild their city's walls they faced much opposition.
  • Eventually the walls were built!


The Fight:
When insults weren't enough to deter the Israelites Nehemiah's enemies decided violence was the next step. This is the point where Sanballat and Tobiah stop just hurling insults, organized, and pick up their swords. Nehemiah and his work crew were moving way too fast for Sanballat and Tobiah's tastes. Their wealth depended on Jerusalem's walls remaining in rubble.

We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height... Nehemiah 4:6

When Sanballat and Tobiah saw that the wall was completely surrounding Jerusalem they panicked! They came up with a plan to throw the builders into chaos. I think it would have succeeded if Nehemiah hadn't already sized up his enemies.

Nehemiah, being the brilliant leader he was, had a plan. He set up a patrol system and gave weapons to all the workers. They worked with a sword in one hand and a tool in the other.

We read in verse 15 that the enemies were frustrated by Nehemiah's preparation and God's power. Sanballat and Tobiah never even attacked! Nehemiah won the battle by flexing the muscles God gave him. It was through pure intimidation that the battle was won.

When our opposition comes against us many times the best way to stand up to them is to be well prepared. Preparation is intimidating. Coming to a fight unprepared that will definitely lead to failure.

I remember being in debate class at Charleston Southern. I won every debate I participated in. We debated in teams of two. On debate day one of the partners for a group was conveniently sick. I had already finished my debates and was coasting through the last few weeks of the class. The girl that was down a partner knew my track record and turned to me and asked me to debate with her. I told her I'd be happy to. I had already debated on the same subject a couple of days earlier. When our opponents found out I joined the team and one girl actually started crying. She said she would not debate if I was on the opposing team. She would take the zero. Eventually the teacher talked her into the debate.

In every debate I participated in I was well prepared. I didn't ever raise my voice or get angry. Preparation alone was intimidating.

When you're trying to change the world there is no time to get bogged down in silly fights. Many times the best way to win a fight is to be so well prepared for the opposition. Win the fight by never starting it. Is that going to take extra work and time? Yes, but in the end it will save you days and hours of heartache.