One way to lose is to win.
There was a foreman who was a hardworking, conscientious man, but he had not received a promotion in ten years. “Why haven’t you been promoted?” his friend inquired. The foreman replied, "Many years ago I had an argument with my boss—and I won!"
In arguments it is soooo tempting to “put on the gloves" and verbally duke it out with our adversary. It is one way to handle conflict. But like the foreman, sometimes when we win we lose!
God has a better plan. It comes to us through Peter. Peter was writing to people who were suffering for being Christians. They were being pummeled in many ways. No doubt it was tempting to fight back. Just as they were lacing up their gloves, Peter tells them how to really win:
Summing up: be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing. “Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here's what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all your worth. God looks on all of this with approval, listening and responding well to what he's asked; but he turns his back on those who do evil things." 1 Peter 3:8-12 The Message
One sure way to get God in our corner is by refusing to step into the ring of retaliation. When someone sends a verbal punch your way, don't argue. No sharp-tongued sarcasm, and no verbal counterpunch!
So what does God expect me to do? Does he want me to simply shut up and take it?
No! What God wants you to do is to give a blessing! That means to speak well of the wisecracker . . . to wish God's best on the unbearable person.
This is very important. In giving a blessing God promises a blessing. That blessing may be the joy of watching a boiling pot of anger begin to cool. It might be God righting your wrongs or elevating your status. Perhaps it will be winning a new friend. But then again it might be that the blessing you receive is the joy of watching someone you know get a taste of what God has given you -- grace. That’s always a win!
Practice blessing people with kind words and compliments today—especially those who “don’t deserve it.” Then watch what God does.
Sunday at SRC: We continue our study in 1 Peter that we are calling Everyday Church by focusing on "Everyday Evangelism." We'll discover how we can give a winsome witness for Christ.