It doesn't matter where I turn lately, it's all around me: sarcasm and insults that is.
It's in reality shows, news reports, the blogosphere, social media. It's in my church, and even worse, in my home.
God has laid this on my heart as a matter of urgency to discuss among believing Christians, and though I'd much rather write on a Psalm or an encouraging passage, my eyes & heart are locked into this series, and the key is nowhere to be found. So after much prayer, I'll share.
"Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless--that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing."Disclaimer: I'm not a theologian, so I'm not going to attempt to take apart the meaning of this passage. Rather, I'd like to share some of the insight and ponderings the Lord has laid on my heart--what it has stirred up in me. So, no sermon here...but think along. Pray along. And ask the Lord to reveal His Truth to you in a fresh way...
1 Peter 3:8,9
First and foremost, can we as believers really live this way? I believe we can, but not by mustering up our own discipline or fortitude. Rather, by the power and with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every action in our Christian lives comes down to Spirit-filled living. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Sure, as a stand-alone, these verses in 1 Peter could be used by any "peace-loving" person or religion. But we are not talking about loving peace, we're talking about loving Christ.
The truth is, if you live this way as a believer, you will be put down, ridiculed or worse. Those who live this way as a non-believer will rarely be persecuted. Have you ever noticed that? Maybe this is because when we do what is right because the Holy Spirit is leading us, the Lord shines through...thus resistance from those who don't know Him. When someone lives with "the common good" as his motive, most of the time, people admire them, even follow them, so to speak. Even Christians can be deceived by these "good people," and if we're not careful, we'll begin to imitate them instead of Christ.
Something else to ponder: Oftentimes, Christians believe that being "agreeable" means you can't speak out on evil or other issues. That is not true. But we must realize when we do speak out, the Lord wants us to do it His way. In Spirit and in Truth. (John 16:13 & Romans 9:1) For me, I'm still learning what that means, and it is a continual process of surrender for Him to teach me.
On the opposite end, I hear & read of other Christians who seem to think that bashing their spouse or boss or pastor or another believer is perfectly within their freedom to do. While I try not to stand in judgment of these actions, they still wrinkle my spirit and make my heart feel sick. Unfortunately, I have been a "basher" a time or two (or two times three) myself, which makes me sicker than anything.
So, in summary today, let's pause and ponder this:
Why are so many Christians fighting?
Have we lost our sympathy and passion for the lost & hurting?
How can we get away from using the same humor and retaliation that the rest of the world does?
Are we busy looking for ways to be blessed, or are we blessing others?
How can we stand up for and help those who can't defend themselves without using the world's methods?
Why is it so hard to live this way, and how can we start to turn the trend around in the church and in our homes?
Share your thoughts and your ideas, your struggles and solutions if you feel led.
Father, I praise You for giving me Your Word to help me in this life. I am more aware than ever that this is not my real home, because each day I feel a little more uncomfortable than I did the day before. I long for my Heavenly home, yet I know You still have work for me to do here. Help me to be content, not to lose my passion to love and live Your way, and not to grow bitter and sarcastic toward others. Lord, show me how to depend on You more fully to live out these passage of Scriptures in every situation and relationship. It gets so muddy, so complicated, and I often try to figure things out on my own. Cause humility & work salvation in and through me, I pray. In Jesus' name, Amen.