"Verbal Abuse, Victorious Availing"
Cruel words hurt. God made us to feel, including the keen pain experienced when we find ourselves on the receiving end of unjust criticism, ridicule, slander and mockery.
"Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity, who whet their tongue like a sword and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words" (Psalm 64:2-3).
There is no more wrong in being hurt by the sword and bow of verbal abuse than by the pains known when attacked by the physical version of such weapons. Regardless of how strong we may grow in our relationship with the Lord, we will feel the edge of the blade and the point of the arrow when friend or foe directs unkind words toward our hearts. We do not, however, want to remain in the pain by dwelling on the injustice. We must do something about the matter, first within our mind and heart, and then by walking in accordance with our proactive determination. For born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, difficult challenges provide holy opportunities. Of our Savior, the Apostle Peter declares that "when He was reviled, reviled not again… but commited Himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (I Peter 2:23). Rather than respond in kind, the Lord Jesus responded in faith, looking to His Father's care and keeping. He realized that the verbal abuse of people made possible the victorious availing of God's realized presence, compassion, guidance, and overcoming power. For Thou art My lamp, o Lord, and the Lord will lighten my darkness. For by Thee I have run through a troop, by my God have I leaped over a wall (II Samuel 22:29-30).
Our Father foresees every challenge that will ever confront His trusting children in Christ. He has already heard, as it were, the painful words of unkindness and injustice that will find their way to our ears, and to our hearts. He knows they will hurt, and as the God "full of compassion," He cares about our pain more than we can imagine (Psalm 86:15). Just as importantly, however, the Lord has already prepared the grace whereby we may journey upon the path of light that proceeds from the point of darkness. Herein lies the challenge: if we fail to trust and submit ourselves to God in times of verbal abuse, the darkness will become a path rather than a point. We will unnecessarily dwell on how we feel rather than looking away to the truth of how God purposes to reveal His glory in this foreknown sorrow. We will fail to journey upon the path of light that provides the possibility of knowing and experiencing the living Word in a manner that would not have been possible had deadly words not been fired in our direction. "His words… were drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved" (Psalm 55:21-22).
Such faith constitutes the spiritual proaction by which believers live the entirety of our lives. Unkind words present a particularly difficult challenge because of the God-formed sensitivities of our hearts. Thus, they also provide a particularly blessed opportunity because of the presence and power of His heart that dwells within us by His Spirit. Sharp points of verbal darkness beckon us to the path of victorious Light that illuminates the way of those who trust and submit to the Lord Jesus. Upon this basis, our Heavenly Father then leads us to a walk of grace and truth whereby we honor Him not merely in spite of our challenges, but because of them. We will consider aspects of this overcoming in tomorrow's message.
"As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
(I Corinthians 15:58)