Arm Yourselves

Have you ever been in a situation where someone was “shooting” words of insult your way? I’m not talking about insults to your hair or outfit choice but insults that go deeper. Unfortunately if you are living, it will probably happen to you at least once in your life. For me it has been more than once. I suppose if people were honest, they would say the same thing.

Sometimes insults come from those you least expect…someone close to you. At 53 I can say that I am guilty of it–insulting someone I love. Someone close to me. I have been on the receiving end as well. OUCH! Whenever we are insulted, it “hurts”. When coming from someone we love, we find it to be a “real tough” moment.

Just think…if a stranger insults you…for me at least…it is easier to swallow or to bounce off of me. I can say to myself, “They don’t really know me and I don’t know them!” But when it comes from someone who knows you or is close to you, then the “sting” and the “injury” can be severe.

Words said…once they are said…cannot be taken back…they are “spilled forever!”

Of course they can be forgiven…and yes, Jesus has the power to help us forget…but even when the memory of the “insult” fades…somehow…if repeated…or a similar circumstance occurs…the “wound” doesn’t just reopen…it goes deeper and gushes! What are we to do? Let’s take it a step deeper. What if you are suffering insult or evil for doing good for Christ as outlined in 1 Peter chapter 3?

In the flesh we are all tempted to “respond with an insult”. “Throw one back.” Don’t do it….Don’t! God’s word is clear. 1 Peter 3:9-12, “Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue form evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are ATTENTIVE to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” [emphasis added].

Reading this Scripture encourages me to “hold my tongue”. It also encourages me to “stay in God’s word,” to marinate in it. I don’t ever want to experience the face of the Lord against me! I want to “inherit a blessing!” In my own strength I can tell you ….I am not capable of “holding my tongue”. It is impossible to return a blessing when evil comes my way. Everything in me at times wants to hurl back an insult.

NO matter where you are in life…if you find yourself being insulted…there is encouragement for you. If you have invited Jesus into your heart, you have the Holy Spirit who lives in you and can and will empower you to do good. 1 Peter 3:13-15, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats do not be frightened..But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord…”

What kind of attitude should we take? It is found in 1 Peter 4:1-2, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, ARM yourselves with the SAME attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the WILL OF GOD” [emphasis added]. The will of God is to repay evil with blessing!

I have learned when I am “insulted” to pray a blessing over that person. I ask God to reveal Himself to them. What greater blessing can there be than for “Jesus to show Himself to someone?” 1 Peter 3:17, “For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” And 1 Peter 4:19, “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

The only way we can live the Scripture found in 1 Peter is to daily “deny self and pick up the cross and follow Christ.” Blessings come. We cannot predict when, where or how…but we can be certain…they will come. It is impossible for God to lie! Seek God’s face today. Seek to inherit His blessings when evil comes your way. Pray a blessing for that person!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,…” (Matthew 5:43-44).

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