Thursday, August 25, 2016
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-12(NLT)
I’ve never gotten much enjoyment out of watching a boxing match. Now there’s a big surprise; I despise confrontation, and, frankly don’t have a thing for getting my lights punched out! Some people enjoy the sport; I don’t. I don’t judge those who do, but I would point out that professional boxing, as professional football, basketball, and just about every other professional industry is about blood, not sport. And remembering the word professional, money is one of the roots of all that evil.
The fisherman-turned-apostle, Peter said Christians ought not to be counter-punchers, returning evil for evil. Rather, we are to keep a humble attitude and even take it a step farther than the counter-punching of handing someone back their head…but repaying the evil some would do to you with the kindness of blessing. Peter didn’t dream this up; his idea of conversation was to cut off someone’s ear (John 18:10). Jesus had to set Peter straight; living by the counter-punch was to die by it as well.
So Peter learned to turn the other cheek, and he encourages us to do the same. Keep your tongue in check from counter-punching those who annoy you, and keep your actions in the light of Jesus’ example. He never returned evil for evil, but found a way to take the other person’s attempt at a knockout punch and turned it back on them as a blessing.
Not easy, right?
Who said it would be?
Christianity is not the Kindergarten of human relationships. Learning to live like Jesus means moving towards a Master’s degree of wisdom, higher purpose and incredible restraint. The weapons are prayer, Word and a learned lifestyle of humility.
There’s your target…not finding the other person’s weak spot with your hostile counter-punch!
There is a distance that is roughly the same as how far the East is from the West which separates evil from good. The world will admire you if you are a scrappy, don’t-take-anything sort of counter-punching “winner”.
But heaven approves the one who offers kindness in return. That’s what Jesus did when He came to offer peace, joy and forgiveness…and we hung Him on a cross.
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