"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. . . . 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" (1 Peter 2:19-23).
Peter described how Jesus handled every situation in life. When people hurt and reviled Him, He did not fight back or threaten them. When they wanted to argue with Him, He did not get involved. Instead, He simply walked away.
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps" (verse 21). Peter makes it clear: Jesus is to be our example of behavior.
The apostle Paul adds, "If you don't have charitythat is, the love of Christyou are nothing." According to 1 Corinthians 13, charity means showing kindness to everyone, with no exceptions . . . having no jealousy whatsoever . . . not boasting or promoting oneself . . . seeking others' interests above our own . . . not being easily provoked . . . not thinking evil of anyone . . . not rejoicing when someone falls, even an enemy.
Both Peter and Paul stated very clearly in these passages: "Our command to you is that there be no fighting back, no revenge, no threatening among you. Instead, commit all your agitations, fears and bitterness to Christ."
Our hearts may answer, "Lord, that's what I want." We may get a few victories under our belt and start to feel confident. Then, out of nowhere, someone says or does something that plunges an ugly, unexpected, acid arrow into usand we have a quick rush of angry thoughts. Before we know it, we are shooting poisoned arrows back at the one who crossed us.
We realize we failed even though we had tried hardpraying, seeking God, clinging to truth, and enjoying many successes. When the enemy came in like a flood, we completely failed in our effort to be like Jesus.
"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). You simply must have patience with yourself and with your growth. After all, the race is going to continue until Jesus returns. Yes, you will stumble, trip and get winded, but if you fail, you will get up and move on.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon