When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. – 1 Peter 2:23
If you’ve been alive long enough to know how to read, you’ve suffered crushing criticism. Perhaps you’ve responded in kind, and likely you’ve responded in your own defense, particularly if the attack were untrue or unfair. That’s human nature.
But it’s divine nature to resist a response. It’s the nature of our Savior, Jesus, who has inhabited the hearts of those who trust Him and called us to imitate Him – even when our hearts cry out for justice.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44
Today much maligning takes place in social media, and we are quick to defend ourselves. Our reputation is on the line, after all. But responding doesn’t stop the attacks or the need for further responses. Before long, the conversation goes into a death spiral into which we’ve allowed ourselves to be sucked.
That’s the ploy of the enemy of our souls, who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He wants to steal your focus, kill your relationships and destroy your joy. He wants you to focus on yourself, because in focusing on yourself you are ineffective for Christ.
But Jesus calls us to die to ourselves. He calls us to remain above the fray. He calls us to turn the other cheek. He calls us to love, and sometimes love must remain silent.
In the silence, you pray – daily – for those who persecute you.
You do not hurl angry words in retribution. You do not engage at all. You entrust yourself to the One who judges justly, who promises whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops (Luke 12:3). It is to Him alone we owe an account, not to those who are consumed with tearing us down.
We must become less, and He must become more, especially as the prince of this world continues to delude the masses. Be salt and light. Be grace and peace. Be set apart.
Be still and know that He is God.
Our time here is waning. Our Savior is returning. Judgment is coming. Focus on being prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you, rather than the argument that is beyond you. Focus on making the most of every opportunity.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). And remember they hated Him first.
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. – 1 Peter 2:12
Much of what consumes us is not worthy of our time. But He is. Live blamelessly. Love unconditionally. Speak sparingly in your own defense and freely in Jesus’.
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. – Ecclesiastes 5:2