not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.1 Peter 3:9(NASB)
Love for God and love for other people threads its way through this apostle's writings, and in summing up his first epistle, Peter offers the do's and dont's of Christian living in a few pertinent phrases. After stressing the need for unity, brotherly love, sympathy, and compassion for other people, he urges believers not to repay evil for evil nor to respond to an insult with an equally disparaging remark. On the contrary, we are entreated to give blessings, since "you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing from God."
It is not only our Christian brethren that should be so treated, but we are called to love our enemies. There are three options in living the Christian life:
1. We could follow the satanic path where both good and evil is repaid with evil.
2. We could live our lives on a moral human level where we respond to good with good but recompense evil with evil.
However, the third option, which is the divine standard, is rooted in the love of Christ and the example that He left us, where evil is repaid with good and where blessings are the response to an insult, for that is what God has called us to do and He will bless us for it. We are called to be holy for He is holy, but His unattainable benchmark can only be attained as we live as Christ lived, in spirit and truth, and in submission to the Holy Spirit.
Let us in His sufficiency love one another, be like-minded and sympathetic, compassionate and humble. Let us not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary "let us bless others, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing."
Let us love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Let us bless them and not curse them. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you. And do this for our dear Lord Jesus' sake, for in so doing we are participators in Christ's sufferings: "This is what God has called us to do, and He will bless us for it."
Heavenly Father, thank You for this challenging verse. In my flesh when I am wronged, I want to lash out and return evil for evil. But help me to walk in spirit and truth and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may I honestly and wholeheartedly return a blessing to the person who dealt evil to me. Thank You for the promise that by doing this, I will inherit a blessing. And thank You that Your grace is sufficient for all eventualities of life. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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