I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that the world seems to be getting harsher all the time. I think a lot of it is because of the COVID situation, but people in general are stressed, impatient, and many are acting out on their impulses (I’ve especially witnessed it on our Southern California freeways). Unfortunately, this can be really wearing for those of us who are trying to do the right thing. Just for “staying in our lane,” both literally and figuratively, we are often the target of the slander, frustration, or rage of others. And while it’s completely natural to respond to such scenarios with a display of like emotion, most of us who desire to live and walk like Jesus will refrain. Because we know that our Savior did not react to provocation with haste or harshness, we try to follow His example. However, if we’re not mindful, this can leave us feeling angry or depleted. When we hold back and exercise self-control, especially when no one is watching, we may not see the good fruit of our restraint. Yet I want to say with resounding certainty that it matters to God! When we grow tired of doing the right thing and our flesh is tempted to steer the ship of our lives off the cliff of erraticism, we do well to remember that the Lord is cheering us on to righteousness. There’s a reward for self-denial that not only affords peace in this life, but even greater glory in the next.
My friend, your Savior knows that it’s easy to grow weary in well-doing, especially in this tough season. He sees your sacrifice, and He is proud of you. Every time you choose not to lash out, not to return an insult for an insult, or not to win an argument at all costs, you make His heart very happy. Though it’s unpleasant to subdue your flesh, your imperishable rewards are peace, righteousness and joy from the Holy Spirit, and those things can never be taken from you. Keep your conscience clear, trust the Lord’s perfect love to defend you, and you will be blessed in a way that far exceeds the temporary relief of impulsive action or revenge.