8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9, NIV)
Is it my imagination, or am I getting an awful lot of those tough commands on my assigned writing days? I approached today’s reading with a hope of meditating on some feel-good verses, to quiet my soul at this hectic time of year. While God provided that as I read verse 8, dreaming of a world where everyone was like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble, I read on in verse 9 and I am hit with one of those hard sayings: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing…” Replay evil with blessing. Really?? Come on!!
I remember several times when this was certainly a challenge. I remember one time in particular; my husband gently reminded me of this when I was fuming at an injustice done to me at work and what I was planning to do about it. I was five timezones away, and I wanted to pretend I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I mean, come on, this person declared war!! I was fed up, hurt, angry, and exhausted. It took everything I had not to seek revenge. But to repay with blessing? I don’t think I managed to go that far.
I will say, though, that my husband is one of the best people I know at living this principle (along with several others of these “hard sayings”). It used to make me crazy, but as I mature in my walk I am coming around. Maybe as I get older I can see the wisdom in this firsthand. I have seen situations escalate, and I can see where if this principle had been applied it would have avoided a world of hurt. I also see how the “evil” done to us is often a perception problem or a miscommunication. Other times it is done as a reaction of pain by the other person. Inflicting pain back does not accomplish any good. I can start to see how our lives would be so much more peaceful if we not only avoided revenge but paid it back with a blessing. It also makes me wonder how many blessings that others have bestowed upon me were actually a response to a perceived evil on my part?
Lord, strengthen my resolve to seek peace and pursue it by repaying evil with blessing. You are close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit. You promise that I will inherit a blessing by trusting you in this. Let me find my peace in that.