This lesson contains some of my favorite lifetime scriptures that have reached deep into my spirit and left a mark. The first is 1 Peter 2:19-20
“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. “
I love this scripture for so many reasons. This reminds me of when my grandchildren beam at me after a meal and say “I ate all my dessert, aren’t you proud of me!?” It always makes me laugh. If we rip, snort, and tear through people with our words and actions, then become a martyr, God is saying, “Big deal! You haven’t done anything great!” We have to face it, there are no medals or rewards for facing a mess we made!
The last part of the scripture is exciting to me because it tells me that suffering when I have done no wrong patiently and with the right attitude pleases God! How wonderful to know something else I can do to please God. It also stands as a reminder that when I do not take persecution patiently I displease Him.
1 Peter 2:21-23 fits in my VERY FAVORITE scripture category. I cannot begin to tell you how many times throughout the years I have quoted this or shared it with someone.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”
I find this scripture exciting because it clearly spells out steps in following Christ’s example. Many years ago I was confronted on a regular basis with someone speaking to me in such anger and cruelty that I would cry. I began to pray for them and quote this scripture as they spoke. I didn’t completely take away the pain but it comforted me in knowing I was following my Savior’s example and leaving the outcome to the greatest Judge of all, God. It gave me peace that God was in control of the problem. Not that I was saying, “Lord, I will step back and you can take a swing at them! I know you can knock them out!” We aren’t to give it to Him that vengeance will be served but that His perfect will would be worked in both our lives.
When they criticize us gripe at us, and falsely accused us, (revile us) we are not to return “the favor” . It is the flesh that wants to “hit’ back verbally when we are hurt with words, “to threaten” with retaliation. The scripture tells us Christ held His tongue. He wasn’t a door mat or passive. He did something much more powerful than sling ugly words: He turned the situation and person over to God to judge the outcome.
Yes, this is difficult especially facing one that has repeatedly hurt us. I remember the first time I obeyed this scripture, I felt like a full balloon squeezed to tight at the top. As if I were going to explode. But the more I obeyed the easier it got and the better I felt. I wasn’t so emotionally upset and the anger didnt’ linger for hours or days. I see now it was because the Lord was in control of my emotions and tongue. Not the devil. I have found that is a tried and true test if how I responded was of the devil or the Lord. If it is of the devil I have an anger and resentment “hangover“. If it is of the Lord I may feel aggravated for a little while but peace takes over.
It reminds me of the time I ate a half gallon of pecans and praline ice cream in one sitting. It was great going down but boy was I miserable afterwards. ( I don’t like that flavor to this day!) It feels good at the moment to have your say and put them in their place but if we are truly His child, the guilt and regret that follows makes us miserable.
This is an area I must constantly stand guard in and remember this scripture because the enemy can catch me off guard and I will fail.
The person that has been the greatest living example of this scripture in my life is my husband, both before and after he surrendered to the ministry. I have seen people scream false accusations, say cruel things to him, throw objects at him, and even pull their fists up at him, but he never reviled or threatened. If he was led to speak it was softly and kindly. Even his face didn’t show any agitation.
This lesson was such a blessing, a reminder of truths I hold dear, and a challenge to apply them in the future.