1 Peter 3:10-11 NIV
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his life from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good. He must seek peace and pursue it.”
By the time I reached the end of my road as an active alcoholic and addict, there were no good days to be had. I had no love for life. Everyone and everything that I once held dear had been driven away, or absorbed into my lifestyle. For a while there, when my addictions drove me to the crossroads of life and death, I wasn’t sure which way I should, or would, go.
Frightened for my life and desperate, I found myself chewing on this wild idea that had been in my head for years. Sloshed around in the washing machine mind of an addict, it was no longer the thing I had once vividly envisioned after a particularly bad hangover. It had become a more distant vision, like an oasis to a weary and thirsty desert traveler. It was an idea that seemed to drift on the horizons of my mind, an idea that seemed to have no real merit, an idea that never gained enough momentum in my head to ever really consider taking action. For action would require both effort and commitment, and I had always believed my sacrifices would be too great and that my pain would be unbearable. Fear in pain. Pain in fear.
It was the idea that I could get sober.
It’s been several years now since I took a leap of faith and became willing to pursue a life of sobriety. Today, without a doubt in my mind, I can honestly say that I love my life today, and that while some days are filled with things like confusion, and turmoil, and uncertainty, most of my days are filled with a peace I did not under understand, until I got sober.
In sobriety I have an amazing life, full of amazing people, many of them like-minded, eager to do the next right thing, willing to make their wrongs right, living a life of sobriety, one day at a time.
In this passage from 1 Peter 3:10-11, Peter, the author and one of the original twelve apostles of Jesus, gives us 3 specific musts, that if we follow, will allow us to love the life we lead, seeing good days as we live them in fullness, one day at a time.
First we must first keep our tongues from evil and our lives from deceitful speech.
For me this can be quite challenging at times. I’ve always been quick to respond, quick to say what’s on my mind, quick to criticize others, and quick to justify my self-authored book of core values. When I review a particularly hectic or stressful day, which many are, I think of some of the things that come out of my mouth, and I wonder who’s been minding the store.
I personally believe that, when I give someone a good tongue lashing, whether it’s to their face, or from behind their back, from the next car, or on the social media site, something’s wrong with me. Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Regardless of what may be behind my words, I’m certainly not at the moment loving life, or having a very good day.
With his second must, Peter says that we must turn from evil and do good.
This sounds easy and looks simple there on the page, eight simple and rather small words. But when our minds are filled with the hateful or wicked thoughts of the sinful nature, they sometimes spew from our mouths like the splattering of a soon to erupt volcano. Will all those thoughts build and build til they finally reach the stage of mass ejection when the molten words dig into the flesh of everyone who hears/reads them, including your own.
Not loving life or having a very good day here either.
By way of his third must, Peter gives us a way out, telling us that we can avoid the consequences of our evil tongue and our evil thoughts, if we seek peace and pursue it.
I believe that everyone wants peace. But with men and women who have battled the demons of addiction, inner peace and serenity are essential. When I am having a good day, or when I find myself walking down an exceptionally smooth section of the path of life, my inner peace overflows. Life is good.
I have come to understand that this is more the exception than the norm. In fact, on most days there are no smooth sections in the path at all, only obstacles and pitfalls, some seen, some are not. For the recovering/recovered alcoholic and addict, these obstacles and pitfalls have a way of challenging our inner peace, and in turn, our sobriety.
In today’s passage, Peter tells us plainly, that when we not only have to seek peace, we also have to pursue it. He also lets us know that if we find that we cannot control the stinging venoms of harsh, and hateful, and hurtful talk that sometimes come from our mouths, that peace and serenity will elude us.
As a sober Christian, I’ve found that when my tongue gets the better of me, I seek peace and pursue it. If I’ve hurt someone’s feelings, or been rude, or short with them, I seek them out and apologize for the way I spoke with them. Right or wrong I must do this. Or, if my inner thoughts begin to boil with resentments of any kind, I take a step back and pray, asking God to remove the resentment, making room for peace and serenity to return. Again I not only sought peace, I pursued it through prayer.
So, when you are making the effort to humble yourself to others and to God through prayer, the thoughts in your head and the words from your mouth are more gracious, more driven in love. Peace and serenity are with you and your faith in God is strengthened. Sobriety now makes more sense that ever. Life is good.
Jon B. Korn
Alcoholic, Addict and Sinner, Saved by Grace