I had the privilege of writing a post this morning for our church's devotional blog, www.thespirit.life. The scripture I chose was Psalm 12:6, which talks about the words of the Lord being pure. As I've thought more about those words that God had penned for us in the Bible, one of the prayers I keep thinking of is Psalms 19:14, which states "Let the words of my mouth... be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord..." I'll admit, it has done me a lot of good to have that in the forefront of my brain today. There's so much crazy going on in our country today, and we see opinions on that crazy everywhere we turn.
It's so hard to listen to someone demean the One you love more than anything. It's angering to see a cause that you hold dear to your heart mocked and scorned. There's nothing more frustrating than hearing someone rant and rave about something they know little about. And it's only natural to want to stand up to that said someone and put them in their place. You know, teach them a thing or two. Give them your two cents.
As a Christian, I have dealt with that inner tug of war between responsibility to stand up for what's right and just getting something off my chest because I want to. Finding that balance can be difficult... very difficult... quite often. I read a status on Facebook not too long ago that will never escape my memory,
"When you want to say something, you probably shouldn't. When you don't want to say something, you probably should."
That hit home. But, I'm glad.
The Bible even tells us that sometimes we just need to keep our mouth's shut. Ecclesiastes 3:7- "There is... a time to be silent and a time to speak." As much as we'd like to believe it's so, this piece of instruction is not just referring to funerals and weddings or important speeches that are being given. No. Sometimes, even when we're on the edge of our seats with the best comeback on the tip of our tongue, it'd really be best to keep it quiet.
There were several times Jesus said nothing, when He, of all people, could've said something that would've just hit the mark. (Matthew 26:63, John 8:3-6, Isaiah 53:7, etc.) If only we could learn to follow His example. Oh, how far I have to go!
I've been raised in the church all my life, so I've seen firsthand what good words said with a bad attitude can do, even among other Christians. And I've been apart of that group more than I'd like to say. He's still working on me!
Today, when I was scrolling through my feed, there were several posts I started to comment on, but that still, small voice inside just couldn't let me follow through. I wasn't going to say anything hateful or degrading, but I wanted my point to be made. How often we feel that surge within us to tell all these people why they're wrong! I mean, we can reference scripture and everything!
Still, while I was trying to justify all my reasons for wanting to speak up, I couldn't get the image of Peter and the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane out of my mind.
I mean, Peter was a loyal follower of Jesus Christ. He saw firsthand the love and compassion this Man exhibited every day of His life. He was an eyewitness to the the miracles and wonders He performed. He watched as Jesus hugged little children, sat and laughed with the "worst of the worst," and spent every waking moment serving everyone He met. And here these soldiers and officers come in with swords and clubs in hand, threatening this precious Man, promising to lead Him to His death.
Peter wasn't having any of it. He was going to defend his Jesus, and he was going to do it now! He picked up a sword and swung it as hard as he could, cutting the ear right off that priest's head. I'm sure he thought Jesus would be pleased; that He would surely see his love and devotion to Him. But, Jesus responded to this action with, "Peter, put that sword where it belongs!" Then He stopped, reached down and gently laid a hand on the man's ear, and He healed him. Yes, Jesus rebuked His follower and healed His enemy.
I can't stop envisioning that scene. And I can't quit wondering how many times I've "swung my sword" thinking I was defending Christ- thinking He would be pleased- when all I did was hurt someone that He had to reach down and heal. And what gets me the most is that words cut even deeper than that sword... and they can't be healed instantly...
Friends, we must be cautious in what words we say and how we say them. We should be prayerful as to whether we should even say them at all. Follow His example. Pray for His wisdom. Showcase His love and compassion. Let's try to really love our 'enemies'.