Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 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. For,
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-12
This is the life that the follower of Jesus is called to. A disciple of Christ will repay evil with blessing. When insults come, they are not returned. Love and grace win the day and a blessing is given instead.
Evil lurks where evil is… and it is looking to pounce on us. When we’re being sinned against it is all too easy to sin back! The Christ-follower turns from evil and does good. We seek peace and pursue it. We look for the peace that is not readily present in those situations and we go after it.
Practically speaking, the key is our speech. “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech” (vs 10). Repaying insult for insult or evil with blessing is directed connected to our speech. It’s how it’s done… or not. How easy is it to sin with our tongue?!
James wrote, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6-8).
Being ‘slow to speak’ is a constant goal for me. I am not the most sharped-tongue person, but I can string thoughts together. Speaking less in situations helps me not to sin. It helps me to be sympathetic and loving… compassionate and humble. It helps me to turn from evil and do good instead in many circumstances. This is the only way I can eventually return evil for a blessing.
Lord Jesus, You are the One who has demonstrated this way of life. You lived it and have called me to follow You. You are my motivation – ‘For Your eyes are on the righteous and Your ears are attentive to their prayer!’ Thank You for hearing my prayer and for leading me in the way you’d have me go. I live for you today.