No one wants to be a doormat for others to walk over and take advantage of. But love often calls us to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. And this means we give ourselves voluntarily rather than passively allowing others to simply take it from us.
This is the example shown by Christ himself. He clearly states no one can take his life from him, but he has the authority to lay it down when he wants to and also to take it up again. As such, while on the surface it looked like he died as a victim of the schemes of others, in reality there was a deeper truth taking place. He submitted his life for the good of others; it wasn’t taken from him.
And this is the pattern we’re to follow as well.
To be sure, it’s no longer our free gift of love when we’re growing bitter because others are taking advantage of us. But our sacrifice is also not dependent on how it appears to others or what it means to them. They might very well think they’re getting the best of us, though often they’re indifferent and not mindful of the cost we pay. Either way, we freely give ourselves because of who God has called us to be. They take nothing from us.
In this way, what might appear weak on the surface is actually coming from a much deeper power and authority in our lives. Of course, this doesn’t make the cost any less painful or shameful. On the one hand, it feels like we’re allowing ourselves to be disrespected, which is hard to stomach. But the deeper reality is that we’re being faithful to the work God has given us to do, regardless of how it might appear otherwise.
We risk resentment and failing in our duty to love when we simply allow ourselves to be taken advantage of rather than freely giving ourselves. This might look the same on the surface, but there’s a profound difference in our heart attitudes.
In the end, remember the example of Christ. No one can take anything from you when your sacrifices are freely given.