These are dangerous words when strung together. Pastors must walk with caution when making these statements BUT they must also not shrink from making them either. The Bible is the Bible and it’s truth has to be shared regardless of its sting! Truth be known…it only stings when it is right and you are wrong. So, if these words sting today… let’s work together and make sure we are always on the right side of right.
1 Peter 3:8-10 makes a clear mandate for Christian people…and verse 9 holds the pinnacle of that truth…as a Christ follower you are called to act in certain ways. It is not a suggestion. It is not conditional. It is imperative! We simply cannot chose to live in harmony, sympathy, love, compassion, and humility WHEN WE WANT. We are called to live by these virtues every minute of every day.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.10 For Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
The hardest part of this call is when someone wrongs us in the church and we want to retaliate…swing away with words of insult that land a blow similar to that of a baseball bat to the head. That is not Godly according to verse 9. Stand for Biblical truth but you better act in God honoring ways. Verse 10 gives us a glimpse as to what two things we ought to consider as honoring of God when faced with evil deeds from those around us.
1. Keep your tongue from evil speech.
2. Do not deceive.
You would think these are “no brainers,” but it is just not true. We must strive daily to walk in the challenge of these verses by keeping our mouth clean, our words pure, and our intentions righteous. We cannot lie. We cannot speak in ways that intend to harm. We must refrain from insult. We can never afford to be evil to those around us as a form of revenge for wrongs they have done to us. Instead, it is this scriptures clear call that we bless these people with sympathy, love, compassion, and humility for the sake of harmony.
These are tough words but a great reminder that those who walk this path will reap a blessing from God. That blessing is a love for life and the chance to see “good days.” While that seems vague, everything I have ever received at God’s kindness has been greater than I ever imagined on my own. So, I am willing to take my chances that honoring God with my speech and the way I talk about others is the best way to live. Even more than that…it is my calling to live that way!