Time with God - March 18, 2016

1 Peter 2:21-23 (NLT)

Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps. He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

How do you react when someone mistreats you?

It was something that challenged those who attended a spiritual renewal weekend held in Poland called Encounter Jesus. This program is modelled after others like the Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo, and Tres Dias weekends, and was started by Zbigniew Chojnacki and his Ambassador for Christ International team in Poland. The results of encountering Jesus can make a strong impact on those who are sincere in wanting to follow the Lord.

After a recent Encounter Jesus weekend, one of the men who attended made the difficult decision to change a relationship that he knew was destructive to his ministry. He faced all of the reasons not to make that decision, but held firm. His struggle intensified when someone questioned his sincerity and his commitment to the Lord. Speaking of this, he wrote, "God, who spoke to me so strongly on the EJ weekend, told me again, 'Do not be angry with that person but love with My love.' Now I pray for that person and feel free from the bad relations."

Have you ever had an experience like one of these? You are intent on doing God's will at great personal cost, then someone you think should care about you and be on your side criticises you, dismissing the value of what you are trying to do. Or you ask forgiveness and the person responds by scolding you. Or you try to help someone in Jesus' name and they take advantage of you.

The anger and resentment that come boiling up out of the heart we thought was surrendered to the Lord's will can indicate to us that our motives are mixed. God in His love and mercy is allowing us to see the pride and self-serving that are part of our sacrifice.

As the Apostle Peter tells us, this was not Jesus' way. When He was attacked, He did not resort to lies or insults or threats because His heart was pure love. There was no pride or self-serving in His make-up.

When you are tempted to retaliate because of the reactions of others, will you remember our Lord's example and leave your case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly?

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