Friday, April 30, 2021

What To Do When The World Treats You Badly

"We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, … we are dishonored! … we both hunger and thirst, … we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. … Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. ..." - 1 Corinthians 4:10-13

I was talking with someone the other day.  I thought we had a good relationship.  That we saw the world in the same way – from God’s perspective.  That we understood that we each were devoted to living for Christ.  Then, out of the blue, they suggest that I was acting with wrong motive, a lack of integrity. The feeling that flooded in was indignation.  What they had suggested was the farthest thing from the truth.  I could feel the “old man” wanting to rise up. I know that my tone changed, even though I controlled my tongue. 

Has that ever happened to you?  Being falsely accused is painful.  It’s one thing to have done wrongly and then be found out.  It is quite another to have done nothing wrong, but accused all the same.  Jesus said (Matthew 5:11-12) “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” And that is what they did to Jesus as well.  So you want to be known as a Jesus follower.  You want to do the will of the Father. Are you willing to suffer like Jesus did? Or are you “in this” for the good stuff only? 

In verses 13-16, Jesus went on to say that we are to be salt and light.  The habitation of the Spirit of God makes it possible to respond to the world – even when there is injustice perpetrated against you – in a way that glorifies God.  It means that you must lay your pride and ego on the altar.  You must resist the temptation to “strike back”.  Listen it is one thing to not do something but feel it in your heart.  It is another thing to not do something and have compassion for the person giving offense.

Sin is birthed from the heart not the hand or the mouth.  The Apostle John said that if you hate you are guilty of murder.  (1 John 3:15)  Jesus said if you have lustful thoughts about a person of the opposite sex, who is not your spouse, you are guilty of adultery.  (Matthew 5:27-28) You don’t have to act on the thought to have sinned.  It is when you resist the thought and submit to the Spirit that you are salt and light.  Showing grace and mercy is a spiritual act and is contrary to the nature of your flesh.

It is not something that you can do by trying to control yourself.  You will be successful only if you stop trying and start trusting. So what did I do?  There was a struggle in my heart. The “old man” wanted to rise up, but he did not, by the grace of God. Instead, I followed up our conversation with a text telling them that I understood that they had significant responsibility and a difficult job to do. 

You see, it was really not about me.  It was about the stress of the responsibility they had to bear.  Had I made an issue of it out of pride and a feeling that I needed to vindicate myself, I would have done harm.  Oh, my flesh would have “felt” better, but there would have been no salt and light. 

Life is full of opportunities for you to show Jesus to the world. But, you have to be ready and you have to be willing.  Are you? 

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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