Saturday, April 12, 2008

Despitefully Used

Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

Have you ever been used? How about despitefully used? What does this term mean? Well the word used here for this term is one word in the Greek, epēreazō and it carries with it the meaning to "insult", "treat abusively" or even to "threaten". Can you relate to this kind of treatment? I can, as I have been threatened by even a so called fellow Christian before, that I should lie for them in a certain situation or else someone (not necessarily them) would epēreazō me or accuse me, this would also carry with it the "insult" to ones character especially coming from a so-called believer as they insult the integrity of ones walk with the Lord and our good conscience. In the authorized version this word is translated in 1 Peter 3:16 as "falsely accuse" speaking of those that should be ashamed knowing of our good conversation in Christ.

I am sure we all have been epēreazō before that really isn't the issue here. No, the real lesson here is how will you or I respond when we are threatened, insulted and accused falsely? The text is clear that we should "bless them" and "do good to them" and "pray for them", why? Well there are at least two reasons, first because here the Lord clearly commands us to love our enemies, and in doing so we practice that which is common to the "children of our Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew 5:45). And second because "it is better that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing" (1 Peter 3:17), and when you suffer as a Christian you "glorify God on this behalf" (1 Peter 4:16). Which brings up a very important point that as a Christian you will suffer, just get used to it for "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12)

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