One of the classic scenes from Finding Nemo is when Dory and Nemo find themselves in the company of a few shady sharks participating in a recovery session. The mantra for the session is “Fish are friends, not food” but class ends abruptly when the leader, Bruce, smells the irresistible scent of blood.
What makes it such a funny and relatable scene is that we all know how hard it can be to deal with temptation. There’s a hungry shark in all of us.
But we can also relate to what it feels like to be a small fish surrounded by predators. More than ever, our world seems to be full of angry, aggressive people who are constantly in attack mode. Say one wrong thing or do one wrong thing and you’re shark bait.
What to do? As Christians, do we bare our teeth and bite back? Do we just return the favor, or lack thereof? Unfortunately, many of us have defaulted to this approach.
But what if God calls us to something different? What if He has a better plan for how we engage unkind people in our families, at our jobs, and in our various communities?
In Psalm 54, David was swimming with sharks. Per usual, ungodly people were after him, trying to kill him even. He says,
Listen to my prayer, O God. Pay attention to my plea. For strangers are attacking me; violent people are trying to kill me; They care nothing for God. (v. 1-2)
Notice that David’s first step in dealing with his sharks was to pray. Rather than being a knee-jerk and reacting to the attacks tit for tat, he wisely took some time to ask God for help.
As hard as it is in the moment to refrain from biting back, this is always the better way. Even a quick “Dear Lord, help!” could prevent you from being just another grouch in an ocean full of them.
Like us, David swam with sharks every day, but the beautiful thing is he never got swallowed up by negativity. Later, he testified:
But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive! (v. 4) For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies. (v. 7)
Christian, as you deal with anti-social behavior all around you, before you do anything else, take a moment to prayerfully open your heart to God. Ask Him to give you the grace and wisdom you need to rise to the challenges and to be salt and light in a world that so desperately needs it.
Go get ’em today.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.