The Heart, How do we Respond?

You cannot stop evil from coming to you. You ‘are’ only responsible for how you react to it!
So many have deep hurts in our hearts from the actions and words of others. How do we respond?

First, we are to forgive then. We are also to do good to them and bless them and pray for them. These are the simple and clear teachings of Jesus.

Ok you say I have done that but still I hurt in my heart. So true.
To be falsely accused or for evil to be done to you by others is painful. It hurts and often is devastating.
For this column I am not dealing with what you do when you do wrong but when wrong is done to you.

Here is how Jesus says we are to react.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake ,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-12

To be falsely accused and to be reviled by others is such a unique privilege and blessing and so special that God asks you to participate in this particular aspect of His character.

Just think how often God is accused every day all around the world. He is blamed for almost everything bad you can think of. Think of how Jesus, who was perfect yet He lived and ministered in constant conflict, being reviled with false accusations and actions by others. Even today two thousand years later the Holy, Perfect, Loving Savior Jesus Christ; His name is used as a profane word.

How did Jesus respond?

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example,
that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten , but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:21-24 in the Holy Bible)

Oh, this is beautiful but can be very painful.

To be wronged and offer no defense is often difficult! Our nature is to defend ourselves.

If accused we want to prove ourselves right. Our ego demands it. Our reputation demands it. Others often require it.

To be accused and to be silent is a glorious blessing as we live out the Nature of Jesus.

To be accused and not to offer a defense is a mark of Jesus’ character.

Look at the above verses and see that when reviled or spoken evil against Jesus did not speak evil in return. When Jesus suffered He did not threaten! Wow. Most people in their suffering threaten or do vengeance in return. Jesus did not.

Jesus took the punishment for us.
You may have to take the punishment of others in order to be Christ-like.
Remember dear suffering follower of Jesus, what Jesus said:

“It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, (the Devil) how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them.
For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.(Matthew 10:25-26)
Jesus said people accused Him of being Beelzebub or the Devil.

What do you think they will call you?

Many Godly people on this earth are called evil or of the Devil. This is normal! What do you expect? Our Lord and Master was called the Devil. You who are faithful followers of Jesus will face the same as your Lord.

I have tried to truly seek to live out these teaching of Jesus.
The only heart you are responsible for is your own!
If you have to destroy someone else to make yourself look good, then just don’t do it!

There is a popular English expression that I am going to tell you. You first have to know that in the heart of London is a famous open-air place called Trafalgar Square . Hundreds of pigeons gather there to be fed by the tourists. The pigeons often sit on the top of the enormous Nelsons Column statue in the center of the square. You can imagine what the statue often looks like and it constantly needs cleaning.

“Sometimes you are the pigeon and Sometimes you are the statue.’

Ok, go ahead and smile. That’s just life. We should never be the pigeon! Ha!
But for some it seems like you have been the statue much too long.

Just follow Jesus and keep your own heart pure. You do not have to fight to defend your life. It is in God’s Hands! Follow Jesus and accept that you may have to suffer for Him. Be at peace.

Just one more thing as I close. In the verse of Scripture in Matthew 10 Jesus said,
Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Often we think we need to defend ourselves so we can make the ‘truth’ known. Well, be at peace. One Day, on Judgment Day, all truth will be known ! The real truth. I have discovered in my 63 years on earth that what often appears to be the truth is just the opposite. There are many sides and views of every act and action. People will just have to take you as you are or reject you and revile you. Only God knows ‘all’ things. Only Jesus is capable of correct judgment. So do as Jesus did ‘ but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously’. May we commit ourselves to ‘Him’ (God) who judges righteously.

Perhaps some day soon I will write about ‘Judgment Day’. When you understand it properly you will be free of seeking earthly defense and rest judgment to Jesus.

Accept your suffering with Joy!

Please note the following:

For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,

as though some strange thing happened unto you:

But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.

If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you;

for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you:

on their part he is evil spoken of,

but on your part he is glorified.

Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

(1 Peter 3:17, 1 Peter 4:12-14, 1 Peter 4:19 in the Holy Bible)

Overcome evil with good ‘¦’¦

I must add one more thing to this subject. Is it ever proper to offer a defense or must we always remain silent?

Well, that is why we have tons of books discussing and debating various scripture verses.

However, several times the apostle Paul offered a defense as recorded in the Book of Acts. So did Steven before he was stoned to death. As I have studied these and other examples in the Bible I do not see this in conflict with the teachings of Jesus. These seemed to be proper responses to preaching the Gospel of Jesus. Paul even used his Roman citizenship to be a part of his defense.

Several times I was arrested for street witnessing. I fought these arrests in court and won every case. Jesus did it. I felt it right and proper and used this as a witness for Jesus.

So how are you to respond in your heart to offense?

Look at Jesus and follow Him.

Sometimes you must just lay on the floor weeping and praying before Jesus. Then in your heart you ‘know’ that you ‘know’ that you ‘know’ Jesus has told you what to do. Then do it. But for sure if ever in doubt keep silent and offer no defense as Jesus told us to do.

Rejoice! Be Happy! Follow Jesus and react in your heart as Jesus set us an example.

Pilgrim followers of Jesus,

Arthur and Denise Blessitt

Luke 18:1