Watch How You Speak to People
“Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” 1 Peter 3:9-12
Do you ever skim right over the surface of something only to realize in retrospect you missed something big because you failed to go deeper? I’ve done that so many times in my life, sadly including with God’s Word. But He has been so merciful and gracious to me as His very Spirit leads me deeper and teaches me His ways. Such is the case with 1 Peter 3:9-12. The farthest I ever got with those verses is in being reminded God doesn’t want us to repay other people’s wrongdoing toward us with wrongdoing toward them in revenge. Oh, what a message I missed!
Watch the way you speak to people. This is the message the Lord placed on my heart to tell others about these verses – and the very message He would use to convict me and lead me to repentance in His ongoing transformation of my heart and life.
How quickly we are to assume the wrong we do others in retaliation for the wrong they do us is limited to sinful physical actions we take. We must not forget the sin in our hearts – like pride, anger, hurt, fear, judgment, condemnation, bitterness, etc. – AND the resulting sin that issues from our mouths which results from what’s in abundance in our hearts (Mt. 12:34)
God tells us in these verses not to repay evil with evil AND not to revile those who revile us. Per the concordance, the original Greek word for revile includes in its definition slander and reproach. Dictionary.com says to rail against is “to utter bitter complaint or vehement denunciation…” It says one synonym of reproach is “censure…given with an attitude of faultfinding and some intention of shaming…” Synonyms of slander are “malign, vilify, revile.” God is admonishing us to watch how we speak to and about those who wrong us. He tells us instead to bless them! The original Greek word translated into bless includes in its definition to speak well of and to praise. But how? In His strength – through Christ.
As I studied, God’s Spirit showed me just minutes before I had spoken poorly to and about some people whom I felt had fallen short toward me with something. Next He showed me for years how I have railed against others with my mouth and led me to repentance. God watches over and blesses those who do right rather than evil. The greatest blessing, in my estimate, is a closer walk with the Lord.
Watch how you speak to people.