How many times have you spoken when, instead, you should have lifted the grievous situation up to God in prayer? You no doubt yelled back, called names and even gossiped about the situation. The Amplified shares God’s heart on this subject in a very clear way. 1 Peter 3: 9-12 in the Amplified Bibles says:
9“Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God–that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].
Did you know that the Greek definition for the word “insult” here is “verbal abuse?” When someone is yelling at you, saying unkind things, calling you names or belittling you, or even gossiping about you to someone else, your first response should be to go to prayer. Do not return the abuse or the insult. If you pray instead of returning the evil, God will pour His blessings on you. And wouldn’t you rather be bathed in His blessings than steeped in bitter revenge?
10For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good–whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit). 11Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace (harmony; undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts) and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]
If, instead you return evil for evil, you will experience opposition, frustration and defeat. It may feel good for the moment, but that is quickly replaced with bitterness and longer lasting grief.
12For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil [to oppose them, to frustrate, and defeat them].
The next time someone insults you or verbally abuses you, immediately give it to God. Scripture says to bless your enemies. Ask God to bless your accuser and walk away from the situation. Let’s look to see how Jesus handled abuse. In 1 Peter 2:21 –23, the Amplified Bible says:
“For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps. 22He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips.23When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly.”
Learn to walk away from the situation and give it to God. When I am in a situation like this, I write about it in my journal. Writing to God about it helps me to unload in a safe place. Many times God will show me things about the situation that I would otherwise not have seen.
Returning evil only gives room for darkness. Walking in love will disarm the enemy and give room for the Holy Spirit to work. Rely on the Holy Spirit, for you cannot do it in your own strength. Always remember that you do not fight against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).
When strife comes, be gentle, forbearing and teachable; and most of all, pray for the opposing person to be delivered from the snare of the enemy.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:4)
This does not mean that if you are in an abusive relationship you should just shut up and take it. On the whole God calls you to walk in love. But if you are in an abusive relationship seek help. Battering tends to escalate over time leading many times to homicide or suicide.
Don’t walk in denial regarding your abusive relationship. Identify the symptoms of abuse and get the appropriate help.To find your local program call the Wisconsin Coalition against Domestic Violence at (1-608–255-0539).
Prayer: Lord, help me to be slow to speak! Put a guard over my mouth.