Verbal Beating

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- PHILIPPIANS 3:20

Once I was sitting with my brother in a small market in the Amazon region, eating a piece of cashew fruit, when an elderly Indian woman came up and started cursing me in her language. Startled, I looked up and said that I spoke English and did not understand. That bit of information did not deter her one bit as the verbal assault continued. As soon as possible, we walked away. My brother commented on how the woman was really mad at me. I stated that if I had been able to understand her, I might be apologetic, offended, upset, or vexed by the whole experience, but as it was, I simply did not care; it had no impact on or significance for me. It was easy to walk away and simply say, “Bless you.”

As believers, our citizenship is in heaven. It is the language of heaven that we understand, the language of love. Any other language we simply do not understand, respond to, listen to, or traffic in. There is the language of the world filled with competitiveness, control, abuse, judgment, vindictiveness, hatred, outbursts, and slander. This language will only confuse us if we try to sort it out, for it is a form of communication alien to us. Recently I listened to an interview with a man who had regular conversations with space aliens. He sounded quite mad as he deciphered the messages. Believers sound equally mad when describing and deciphering what a carnal mate, unbelieving employer, parent, or child has said, and then what they said back, and again what was said, and so on. It does not even matter, since everyone involved left the conversation immaculately unchanged, distorting and hearing only what each one wanted to.

We are not to respond to the words of the world but to the condition of the world. Likewise, we are not to respond to the message of carnal believers but only to their condition. Love moves past words directly to the heart of humanity.

Regardless of what is said, it is good to remember that our citizenship and language come from heaven.

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