For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:15-16 ESV
We’ve been challenged lately in a construction project the details of which I will not enumerate. The impact, however, is delay, frustration, and a bit of anxiety: will this drag on forever and cause even more financial trouble and delay? Even worse, I wonder, “who is behind this? I’d like to see him/her brought low.” That’s not my truest self, nor is it in keeping with God’s will as revealed here.
I may suspect that there are some foolish people who are trying to thwart the work of the church by stymying our project. I suspect that someone has an axe to grind with the church and is doing whatever he or she can to keep us from completing the work we’re doing. In fact, I have some reason to believe this – though, again, I won’t say more than that.
There are times when we must deal with foolish people – imagined or real. There are people who say in their heart, “There is no God” (cf. Psalm 14:1). They do far more harm than slowing a construction project. They undercut the faith of the weak. They destroy the hopes of the wounded. They steal the joy of the vulnerable. They kill the souls of the struggling.
In the face of those kinds of evildoers, it is quite tempting to quote Psalm 139:19-22. Slay the wicked! I hate those who hate you, O God.
This is not our calling as followers of Jesus Christ. God promises that we overcome evil with good. He wants us to be free from hatred, evil intent, malice, and vengeance. He desires that our freedom is received as a gift to leverage our service to Christ and his reign and rule.
I will pray for whoever it is – real or imagined – that is trying to undercut our construction project. I will seek to do good in such a way that the foolish are put to silence because they see the goodness, faithfulness, and righteousness of God through me. I’m sure that they will ever see it. But I am certain that by doing so, I am honoring God and living in service to Christ.