The Doctrine of Not Being a Doormat

Matthew 5:39 is one of those verses where I get really tempted to help Jesus out with his sermon. This is the famous verse where Jesus says if someone slaps your cheek, you should turn the other one, presumably for more slapping.

I always want to step in and say, “Now, Jesus isn’t saying we should let people walk all over us. It’s just a commentary on how we’re supposed to go out of our way to love others.” Maybe you’ve heard other people say this. Maybe you’ve said it yourself.

I’m starting to wonder if that’s true. I’m starting to wonder if the Doctrine of Not Being a Doormat is just me trying to make my faith more convenient and appealing. For the life of me, I can’t find a verse that says “Don’t be a doormat.”

I’ve found a verse where Jesus says there’s a special blessing for the meek.

I can point to a spot where Paul says we should consider others better than ourselves.

And after the cheek-slapping verse, Jesus basically says to give people what they ask of you, and then some.

But I can’t think of anything that encourages standing up for yourself once in awhile. Championing the underprivileged? Sure. Refusing to bow to authorities who would have you turn from God? Absolutely. Making sure people aren’t just taking advantage of your kindness? I’m not sure.

I really am unsure. I don’t have a “correct response” in my head that I’m trying to lead you to. More and more, I’m leaning away from this Anti-Doormat Doctrine, but I’m still processing this question. I’ve already asked it on the Power FM Facebook page, and I thought I’d ask it here as well.

Do you think there is Scriptural support for not allowing yourself to become a doormat?

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3 thoughts on “The Doctrine of Not Being a Doormat

  1. Taylor, I think part of your difficulty with this issue relates to the use of the word doormat. Jesus willingly gave up the power of the throne at the right hand of God to serve a more important purpose of providing, those of us who have been given the gift of faith through grace, a direct path to the throne of God. From personal experience I can tell you that the truth of Matthew 5 has nothing to do with us as individuals but has everything to do with demonstrating to others the character of God. Personal pain and perceived loss in this world is of little consequence when compared to the real issues of eternal significance. I truly understand the struggle you may have with this, but turning the other cheek is not equal to being a doormat except in the mind of secular society.

  2. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul also says that if other believers are picking on us or taking advantage of us, we should allow ourselves to be cheated rather than taking another believer to court, which would then show ungodly conflict in front of unbelievers.
    I think there is very little scriptural defense of the human need to be right and to feel like we come out on top. Our confidence should be in our identity as being justified in Christ, not in our personal sense of justification.
    We can see Jesus stand up for himself against bullies, particularly the Pharisees, but he doesn’t stand up for himself in his trial. When he does argue with the Pharisees, it is in an attempt to correct the wrong their way of thinking has done to worship of God in Hebrew society and for the benefit of his disciples. His trial was only a defense of himself, ergo doormat.

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