Peter Siemens lay on the grimy floor of a Russian prison after being unconscious for three days. He had been arrested for sharing the gospel with children. His fellow prisoners had horribly beaten him in return for being promised parole by the guards. As they attacked him, Peter remained silent.
Seeing that he was conscious, one of the prisoners asked, “Why didn’t you scream as we beat you?”
“I wondered if you were beating me just for your own sport, without the approval of the guards,” Peter answered through bleeding lips. “If so, and I had yelled, you would have been punished for prison misconduct. I did not want you to suffer, because Jesus loves you, and I do, too.”
Peter’s elegant declaration won the hearts of the hardened criminals in his cell. They sent word through the prison grapevine that no one should touch him, regardless of where he was transferred or what incentives the guards offered.
Prisoners waiting to be executed at the prison heard Peter’s story and sent word asking for his help. Peter responded, and through sympathetic guards, he shared with them the story of Jesus’ love. Some of them may have accepted Christ before their execution because of Peter’s ministry. His living example of Christ’s love brought a significant opportunity to others. Those who would have never heard otherwise received the gospel message.
The spoken word can be powerful. A well-timed word of counsel, love, or encouragement can go miles when someone is in need. But what about when someone is spiritually needy? Peter Siemens’ words were motivated by his love for Christ. That love enabled him to courageously speak of Christ’s love to his enemies at a time when they needed to hear it most. Peter was obedient to God’s leading, and God used Peter’s words to change many of his fellow prisoners’ eternal destinies. Did God use someone’s words to lead you to Jesus? When God calls you to tell someone else about Jesus, will you obey him at that time? Consider the eternal difference your example and words can make.
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
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