“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing…” 1 Peter 3:8-9
Gosh, it is so hard to not fight back when someone says something unkind, unfair, or nasty about you! We have an overwhelming desire to rise up and strike back! We are looking for justice when we have been wronged – and it feels good to spit something back out at our offender. But it isn’t good.
Of course, Jesus is our ultimate example of how to respond to suffering at the hands of others.
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23
I think the trick must be to trust God to take care of things, more than yourself. Satan surely wants to take advantage of you and make you think that not striking back means you are weak… but that’s a lie.
Our book mentions that learning to NOT retaliate requires:
- A desire to understand the other person’s behavior,
- A commitment to obey and glorify God, and
- Trusting that God will bring forth justice in His own time (I added that one….)
Joseph is also a good role model for not retaliating – remember how worried his brothers were when they came to see him in Egypt? He had every reason to torment them and have them put to death… but he says, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid.” Genesis 50:19-21
It’s really very difficult to not repay evil with evil… but we must learn some self-control in this area.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:17-19
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, a Bible study by Deborah Pegues