Doormats and Servants

One sermon recently preached at a Baptist church in Cramerton, NC recently made light of an idea many Christians have. “God did not mean for you to be a doormat,” is the mentality. At first glance, this is empowering. It seems that God is empowering me to be a warrior and that no one should mess with me. Although I think that God has placed in us worth and that should ideally lead everyone to not treat each other as doormats, I also think that we are to reflect Christ, who was a servant and submitted even to the point of death (Philippians 2; cf. Rom. 15).

The point where Christians must step off is that our worth means we can simply exit the relationship when inconvenience enters.* That is not specifically the case in our faith. LIke Paul says in Titus 3:1-7, and reflects in Romans 13, we must submit to governing authorities, in order to show kindness. The point is that we are called to lift others up.

Considering Philippians 2, Submission to the point of being a doormat is part of our calling. But let’s not stop there. We do not become doormats into bad homes, but we are doormats into the Kingdom of Heaven. When we follow Christ, we should say that we would rather be a doormat into the kingdom and not a barbed wire fence that surrounds our worldly kingdoms. We should be servants of the Heavenly Kingdom, washing the feet of those who want to come in, and not be a mighty warrior who kills all who approach and threaten his worldly kingdom.

To deny being the mat is to reject following Christ. The way of Christ invites and offers life, even if it kills the one who ministers. What ways do you follow? Do you reject being a doormat or follow Christ? Do you seek to welcome and lift up? Or do you protect your self-initiated kingdom and beat down and destroy any who dare hurt you?

*Let’s be clear that sometimes relationships are severed due to uncontrollable circumstances. Sometimes, a period of rest and distance in order to pray and seek restoration from our Lord is necessary. In this case, being the doormat is to seek the goodwill of others, regardless of pain.