March 25, 2015
READ: 1 Peter 3:8-12
Don’t repay evil for evil (v.9).
In 2014 a terrorist group abducted 276 young Nigerian girls from their school. Within hours the news filled the airwaves, and the call for swift action hit a fever pitch.
It’s right to pray for and demand justice and to move with resolve and force to rescue the innocents. It’s often difficult, however, to know exactly what posture to take towards the evildoers. Justice is an expression of the kingdom of God and those who commit evil should be punished by governing authorities, but vengeful retaliation is never appropriate.
The apostle Peter wrote to a Christian community beleaguered by persecution. Religious powers and political authorities had abused and isolated the people. Furthermore, these communities were experiencing internal misunderstandings and divisions. While severe violence usually comes from those outside our circles, those who are near often inflict the deepest pain and wrong.
To all of us who have ever been wronged or maligned, Peter offers sobering words: “Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil” (1 Peter 3:8-9). Whatever those in authority must do to protect others, the posture of the Christian must never be violence as payback. We don’t harm; we bless (Matthew 5:44).
While our human impulse will often be to give someone what they ‘deserve’ or to exact payment by stinging them with words, rejection or some other retaliatory act, God instructs us to bring love and peace (1 Peter 3:8,11). This love isn’t weak or sentimental. It doesn’t wink at evil. Instead, it flows from a cross where God’s love has proven itself to be the most powerful force in the world.
365-day plan: 1 Samuel 14:1-23
Read 1 Peter 3:13-18 and consider the instructions Peter gives regarding suffering for doing good.
What person in your life do you think most deserves your retaliation? What would it look like for you to choose to bless that person?