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Summary: Truth always hurts. Truth also humbles its hearers. Speakers of the truth should be prepared to respond with love to those who abuse them with wisdom, grace and skillful scriptural defense. Peter and John were unjustly arrested because they spoke, preache

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1. Truth always hurts. Truth also humbles its hearers. Speakers of the truth should be prepared to respond with love to those who abuse them with wisdom, grace and skillful scriptural defense.

Peter and John were unjustly arrested because they spoke, preached and taught the truth.

Abusive leaders, such as the Sadducees, will do just about anything to retain their power, positions and privileges. They had nothing to look forward to so their earthly kingdom because they did not believe in the resurrection. Many abusive people have false beliefs about the truth.

Application: Allow the Holy Spirit of God to convict abusive leaders in a way that brings about Godly transformation of their hearts and minds. Ask the Lord to fight the battles for you as you silence critics with your own good deeds done in love. (Matt. 5:16)

2. Do not give into discouragement when abusive leaders try to intimidate you. Stand firm in the strength of the Lord as you put on the full armor of God. (Eph. 6:10-18) Truth is greater than error; love is greater than vengeance; goodness is better than strife; hope triumphs over despair; faith overcomes all things. John wrote,

"This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." (I John 5:4,5)

Application: Ask the Lord to help you to appropriate all the advantages, resources and promises you have in Christ when you are feeling abused.

3. Remember to not become judgmental, angry or critical of abusive leaders. Allow the Lord to be the judge of all people in all situations. Do not speak against people since that is jeopardizing your own welfare. (James 4:11,12)

He who speaks evil of a brother and judge his brothers speaks evil of the law and judges the law· There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?"

Application: Ask the Lord to help you to rise above the tendency to judge others with an angry, critical or fearful spirit.

4. Speak of your rights in a respectful way to abusive people. Help everyone to recognize that God has not given you a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7)

Application: Trust the Lord to give you the articulation to express your rights in a way that is honoring of a leaderâs position but does not appear confrontational to one’s ego.

5. Speak in a soft-controlled tone of voice. Solomon said, "A harsh word stirs up strife, but a soft answer turns away wrath." (Prov. 15:1)

Application: Ask the Lord to control your emotions and the amplitude of your voice tone. It is often not what we say but how we say it that gets one into trouble.

6. Speak in a way that echoes the prayer of Francis of Assisi, "God grant me to serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference." Realize that many people are unlikely to change their views, their attitudes or their behavior.

Application: Leave the major changes of people’s hearts to God. You are not responsible for the fruit but merely the obedience to Godâs processes.

7. Realize that many people are already miserable and they are just looking for a lightning rod to vent their anger and frustrations upon do not take their attacks personally.

Application: Abusive people tend to have all kinds of harmful desires that control them, but they are afraid to have them come out in the light. Do not associate with them or become like them. Ask the Lord to help you overcome evil with good.

8. Spiritual successes are adequate compensation for human discouragements. Soldiers tend to get wounded when they go into battle. Peter and John were rejoicing at having just been involved in bringing more than 5000 people to faith in Christ. Let the victories given to you in Christ help you overshadow the discouragements, frustrations and adversity that you might experience at the hands of abusive people.

Application: Focus on how God can cause all things to work together for good as you love Him and fit into His plans. God will grant you the grace to be filled with courage, nerve and steadfastness in everything. Concentrate on all the ways that God gives triumphs to the weary and abused.

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