“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult,
but with blessing,
because to this you were called
so that you may inherit a blessing.”
(1 Peter 3:9)
There is something in us that wants to rise up and strike back when we are hurt or offended. It can churn within us and stimulate our imaginations and actions. Long after the incident has happened it can still rankle, stirring up visions of retaliation and imaginary conversations in which we are the victors.
Then Jesus appears with a different model and teaching. He tells us to forgive, not to judge, to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, to give. He even sets the standard at the level of God’s forgiveness and indicates that if we set a different level it can act as a barrier to our receiving from God. He takes His own teaching to the cross where He prays repeatedly for those who are crucifying Him, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23:34)
Peter is picking up on that, having himself experienced the fullness of Christ’s forgiveness after the agony of his betrayal. Instead of being castigated, and cast off, he was forgiven and reinstated. Not only was he healed and restored, but he was taken to another level of love and acceptance in the process.
Just as Christ came to reconcile us to the Father, so He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18). An important aspect of this ministry will be found in our attitude and reaction to other people. We are called to repay insult and evil with a blessing – in fact, in all things to bless and at all times to be a blessing. On occasion it may be extremely difficult – and we may need to own the pain inside us as our pain and not seek to inflict it back onto the other. Vengeance belongs to God not to us.
We are the Good News people, and it is possible because we have been blessed. The more we understand and receive the blessing and love of God, the more we will be free to pass it on to others. Having the security of God’s love and blessing we will not need to seek it from anyone else. This was the security that Jesus had and which was affirmed at His baptism.
“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”(Luke 3:22)
It is also the blessing that we have – if we will believe it!
Ask God to make you aware of His blessing in your life. Look to where you need to bless others, especially those close to you.
Father, Please help me to be a blessing this week – in all that I think and say and do. Amen.