I didn’t want to write this. I want to fight back and defend myself. But my flesh isn’t my boss. Jesus is.

Obedience is about application, not just information. We can understand or know something and not actually do it. The blessing is in obedience.

I’m sharing this not to try and be super spiritual. This isn’t about one situation or individual. This is to hopefully encourage someone else like me who is weak, to realize that in our weakness He is strong!

Anxiety spreads. Something current will often bring up past defeats. Last night I was wallowing in agitation – past, present, future. Searching scripture for an answer that would bring me peace. I knew these verses. Have often quoted them, even preached on them. But last night I honestly had to ask, do I just know this information, or have I really obeyed this?

Romans 12:14 (NET)
Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:17-21 (NET)
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to Godʼs wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I’ve tried that. Have said the words in prayer, “God Bless them!” But I had to be honest. The frustration I felt wasn’t to bless them. I wanted to get even – to set the record straight!

But God was about to set me straight instead!

I prayed for forgiveness. “God, I need help to obey this! My heart’s not in it yet!” These verses came to mind:

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NET)
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Always rejoice, 17 constantly pray, 18 in everything give thanks. For this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.

Give thanks in everything? Even when I feel hurt and wronged? Yes. In everything!

“How God? How can I do that?” What follows is a summary of how I found thankfulness, freedom, and peace through obedience. I didn’t want to, but the difference was amazing!

To anyone past, present, or future who criticized, complained, accused, lied to, or about me… Thank you! You are a blessing to me, and I bless you and pray good things for you.

The critiques, judgment, and condemnation caused me to reflect deeply on my own faults and failures. By God’s grace, I was able to see things that I needed to repent of and have faith in God to change me. Even false accusations allowed me to see things that needed to change that would not have been seen otherwise. Thank you for helping me be a better Jesus follower and learn new ways to deny myself. You have blessed me and I am truly thankful and bless you!

Thankfulness. It’s like forgiveness on steroids! Forgive and bless the complainers! This peace is so much better than what my flesh thought it wanted!

Colossians 3:12-15 (NET)
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. 14 And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. 15 Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful.