Righteousness - Includes Restraint - 1 Peter 3:9-10
June 28, 2023, 9:00 AM

9. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10. For, "Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. (NIV)

What is your response when someone insults you? What is your response when someone does something against you that is wrong? The natural instinct is to strike back. Retaliation is so easy and justified if we think we have been wronged. Yet Jesus teaches us to restrain our feelings that seeks to return insult and speaking negatively against another. Isn't that the essence of Christian conduct, acting contrary to our old and fallen nature?

I read in a “Daily Bread” devotional of a man who was a Christian and bought a farm, his neighbor said you have bought yourself a lawsuit. "What do you mean?" "Well, it's this way. Your fence is 10 feet too far over on my side and I'm taking the matter to court to prove it." "Oh, don't do that," said the new neighbor, "if the fence is in the wrong place, we'll move it to where you claim it should be."

The unbeliever was completely disarmed. "Do you really mean that?" "Well, of course I do. The Lord tells me to live peaceably with all men and I intend to follow His orders." The gruff man smiled and said "I'm sorry. Let’s just leave the fence where it is."

Do you ever think, when you find a quarrelsome individual, that you need to be willing to suffer loss for the sake of Christ if necessary? A loving attitude will bring God's approval.

Special attention is given to the place of the tongue. It is impossible to tame according to the book of James. He says, it is "a restless evil full of deadly poison.”

Jesus taught that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, Matthew 12:34. The tongue gives expression of the inner man. To control the tongue, one needs to have God change the inside. Deceitful speech is the means of lying. There are many ways to lie. The whole intent of deceitful speech is to confuse people into believing something that is not true.

Listen also to Matt 12:36,37. "I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. "

My father used to enjoy writing poetry. He wrote one entitled “Destroying Tongues”

“The wagging tongue is sharper far than any surgeons' knife,
Cutting deep in human hearts and killing precious life.
The gossip and the scandal that it tells of noble folk
Has wrecked fine lives of splendid worth, and many a home has broke.

"I saw so and so go out with someone else's wife."
And "Did you hear that poor dear tried hard to end her life?
Faster than the telegraph, or fire spreads the news,
That some poor soul, on tongues did roll, a martyr of wrong views.

The ringing of the telephone brings quick and hurried thrills.
As small and narrow neighbors all the rotten gossip spills.
"Say did you know that Mrs. B. Has to the gutter sunk."
"And that pious Richard V. came home gain dead drunk?"

Why not stop this monster that is smashing people’s lives.
By holding tongues and helping those who for life's comeback strives.
Then proud you'll feel and happy be to know you did your part,
To bring back peace and joy again and happy make some heart.

by Harold Cope