I needed to read this today. All too often, I let my emotions get the best of me and I react. Perhaps Peter would understand. He was impulsive, too. Yet, as you can read, Peter wouldn’t settle for that, either. He’d call it out for the shameful dodge that it is, and he would demand that me, we, and he, do better. Peter would invoke Isaiah, who prophesied that the Messiah would be led like a lamb to slaughter and that He would not respond when He was tortured and killed. Peter would invoke Jesus, whom he had known and had seen fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. And he might just use his own example, when he denied Christ on the day He was murdered, and how so many times before, he had exhibited ignorance and unruly emotion when Jesus was trying to teach.
So this verse convicts me. No amount of self-justifying can excuse the times when I lash out at people who attack me; when I refuse to let go of an argument; when I debate and I react with a snarky or insulting comment; when I say something to demean ‘the other guy’ and win instead of refuting points to reach understanding. This isn’t a call to be a wimp, or to surrender to error or what is wrong. Instead, this is a call to actually be bigger, to further understanding by refusing to mire myself in the rhetorical mud.
Or maybe even get in the actual mud, if that’s what the journey in Jesus requires. It’s not just the insignificant arguments online: it’s standing up for Jesus with quiet dignity and resolve and going wherever that leads. It may lead to a mountaintop or adulation. Or it may lead to being humiliated, and chains, and the gallows. Displaying faith in Jesus to educate a wandering sister or brother may lead me (or you) to “take it;” to take the insults and spears and bullets so as to not disgrace Christ and, thus, educate those who don’t know Him or who are weak.
Living in the days of protest, this is a good lesson to remember.
It won’t be easy; it’ll require me getting over myself. It’ll require bending my will, or ours, to His. It’ll require changing how I and we behave. Yet these are small things, first-world problems, and matters of little consequence. What does matter is standing for Jesus the way He stood: with my mouth shut wherever possible.
For further reading: Psalm 9:4, Isaiah 53:7, Luke 23:46, Hebrews 12:3, 1 Peter 2:24
Lord Jesus, may Your Spirit teach me again and again to help me help my stupid self. Help me to change how I behave.