What should a Christian do when being dumped on? We’ve seen that Jesus sets out principles for us in Matthew 5 that teach us to be willing to be dumped on at times—turn the other check, give your coat as well as your shirt, go the extra mile. But does that mean that we are supposed to endure unfair, unjust treatment without end?

Let’s look at those principles in Matthew 5 again. It seems to me that while Jesus is teaching us to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile, he is also teaching us that there are limits. He said if someone strikes you, turn your other cheek, but he didn’t say lay down on the ground and let him run over you with a truck. He said if you’re sued for a tunic, give a cloak as well, but he didn’t say to throw in your whole wardrobe. He said if you’re asked to go one mile, go two, but he didn’t say go fifteen extra miles.

But how do we know the difference? Well, one way is through prayer. Begin by asking God for clear guidance, pray for the people involved, pray for patience and endurance, and pray that God will be glorified through the situation. That will change your perspective and keep you from running ahead of God’s plan. Remember, he’s working in the background, doing things you’d never dream of, but you can trust him explicitly.

Another way we can determine when enough is enough is to determine if we are actually doing the other person a disservice by allowing him or her to continue to dump on us. There are points at which going too many extra miles would be wrong for others as well as for ourselves—the point at which we become enablers of their evil behavior.

If you’re being dumped on right now, ask yourself: Am I allowing this person to get by with behavior that is detrimental not only to me but to others as well? By continuing to be dumped on, am I reinforcing this poor behavior in this other person? And is this situation causing me to become bitter or burned out or resentful so that my testimony is damaged?

Maybe you’re in a situation where it’s now time to take some action. Certainly we see examples in Scripture, even of our Lord, when godly people took strong stands against unfair and unjust treatment, but not for their sakes alone. I find this to be a clear principle by example in the Bible, that when we take assertive stands simply for our own advantage, we are acting selfishly and usually in anger. However, when we take assertive action to right a wrong, to take a stand against sin or evil, for the sake of righteousness more than to vent our frustration, then we are acting in accordance with biblical principles.