As Paul tells us in Romans 12, we should do everything that we can do to live in peace with our fellow man. Add to that, the fact that we should strive to live a Holy life. God tells us to be Holy because He is Holy. Once we are indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, it should be our inclination to follow the example of Jesus in all that we do. That requires us to not only seek peace and holiness, but to teach others so that no one fails to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. To do this, we must avoid gossip and rumor mongering. If we practice those things, we hurt others instead of helping. Do this with humility and love so that no one can blame you. When you are wrongfully blamed, quickly forgive the person. Don’t hold grudges and allow a “root of bitterness” to grow in your heart. This will, first of all, destroy you and then those around you.
Paul considered both Timothy and Titus to be his sons in the faith and as such, it was his joy and job to mentor them. Even though he left them at different churches to carry on the work that he had started, he continued to do this by writing them letters. In his 2nd letter to Timothy and here in this letter to Titus, Paul warns them about wasting their time in foolish talk and conversations. This type of behavior usually leads to divisions in the body of Christ. Crete was obviously well known for this type of activity since Paul quotes one of their own Cretan prophets as describing them as “liars, cruel animals and lazy gluttons”. That’s harsh condemnation of one’s fellow countrymen. However, it would not be hard to make that description fit a portion of our society today. The point Paul wants to make to Titus is that he has a tough job ahead of him. He is living among people who will make all sorts of claims and statements of their faith, but they don’t really know God and their lifestyles prove that they don’t. When we hear the Gospel of Jesus, we accept it as truth because the Holy Spirit has purified and prepared our minds to accept it. Those whose minds and consciences are corrupt will perceive all truth as being corrupt. The task for Titus was to convince them of the truth of the Gospel by his lifestyle. That is our task in our society today.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.–2 Timothy 1:5-9 (NLT)
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. As we study God’s Word and pray each day, our faith should continually grow stronger. God has given each of us a spiritual gift to glorify Him and edify our Christian brothers and sisters. As we use those gifts in His service, it should cause our faith to grow stronger. God does not want us to walk around afraid to speak about all the marvelous things He has done for us. He tells us over and over “Do not fear”, “do not be afraid”, “be courageous”. We can speak out because we have His power and love abiding in us in the form of His Holy Spirit. He gives us strength to endure any situation, He has told us that He would never allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist and that with the temptation, He would always provide a way out. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.–1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
If we don’t pay attention to God when He whispers, He yells at us by allowing us to endure pain and suffering. We should do our best to live holy lives because His redemption of us was not because we deserved it, but because He loved us.
14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.-Hebrews 12:14,15 (NASB)
The test is this: How do we react when we are betrayed by someone that is close to us, whether it be a family member, friend, close associate or a stranger? Is your first thought, “I should pursue peace with all men”? Or does anger immediately fill you and your mind starts to think about ways to “get even”? What does “get even” mean and how do we know when we are “even”? Ignore the anger? No, it you hold your anger, it will eventually become a “root of bitterness”. That root, as it grows, will push every good thing out of the way to manifest itself in your personality. What then? 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. –Romans 12:19-21 (NASB)
Let God handle it for you. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, a “friend” who had been the treasurer of the disciples and a companion for the better part of 3 years. What was his reaction to that betrayal? He allowed Judas to carry out his work even though Jesus knew it would mean His death. Remember, because of our sins, we have all betrayed Jesus and yet, He died for us. Easier said than done, right? So, how do we allow God to do it? 6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.–Zechariah 4:6 (NASB)
We listen to the Spirit of the Living God and His Spirit directs us as to what we should say and/or do. Most likely, the only action for us will be to pray for the person who has offended us and prepare our hearts to forgive when we are asked and render assistance and encouragement when the offender needs it.