and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1 Corinthians 4:12-13
The verse above, from 1 Corinthians, was the scripture I pulled out of my box this week, but it isn’t the one I ended up savoring. My research into these verses led me to a corresponding scripture in 1 Peter.
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. 1 Peter 3:9
This is the beauty of studying scripture. You may be headed down one path in scripture and then you are rerouted to discover something you never intended, but speaks to your current circumstances. If you are joining me in this Bible adventure for the year, I hope you will give yourself the flexibility and permission to move as the Holy Spirit directs you, to investigate new paths, and seek deeper understanding. We don’t go into a conversation with scripted dialogue (most of the time), we let it occur naturally and organically. Just as it should be when we approach our Heavenly Father through His word and in conversation with Him.
When I approached 1 Peter 3:9 this week, the first thing I did was to define revile. Revile means to spread negative information. So, basically gossip. Well, seeing as this is inauguration week of a very contentious election and all the news about “fake” news that’s going around, I felt this reminder was right on time.
If I’m honest, I’m not just seeing “reviling” in the media and the nation, but much closer to home. Even in circles of friends and at church. We are, after all, sinful creatures that have to fight the flesh daily to follow God’s instructions for living. Why is this so difficult for us? Why, even with God in our heart’s, does it seem easier to judge and talk about others negatively than it is to love them and lift them up with encouraging words? I am just as guilty of falling into this reviling trap as anyone and I find it very discouraging.
The scripture says we are to bless others. It says, as Christ-followers, we are called to bless others. By blessing others, we also receive blessings. This statement couldn’t be more accurate. Every time I step up and bless someone with time, an encouraging word, a prayer or kindness, I always feel as if I leave the situation more blessed than the receiver. Being the hands and feet of Christ is a blessing to me. I want this to remain in the forefront of my mind so that when the evil action of reviling creaks up I can push it away. We need to spread the word, but not the negative word, the Word of God. The truth. The light. The knowledge of His grace. His compassion and His love.
Father, today I pray that you will guide and lead us all (especially me) into your light and give us eyes to see the pain we can cause with words. Give us discipline to follow your ways, guard our hearts, hold our tongues and give us discernment to know when to step in and when to step back. We desire to be more obedient followers. Do a mighty work in each of us and light the path for us that leads to You.