“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with a blessing, because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing” – 1 Peter 3: 9
When we encounter insult, our natural response is to give back equally or little more than what we received. But against this natural inclination, Peter is advising Christians to repay evil and insult with a blessing.
This is a strange advice. It is also hard to follow.
Why it should be like this? Will not the person who insults think that I am too weak and I am a coward to respond? Or Will I not become a punching bag for people like this, if I let this one go without a fight?
Yes, it is a genuine fear and it is possible.
But as Christians we are to bless.
Why we are to bless? It is because of the following reasons:
- We are to bless because we are called for this. Peter says that ‘because to this you were called’ (1 Peter 3: 9). Our calling is to bless those who are insulting us. We need to learn to accept our calling and do accordingly. I should not respond to insult with insult as I am called to bless others.
- We are to bless because Jesus lived this kind of life. Peter says in 1 Peter 2: 23, “When they hurled insults at him he did not retaliate, when he suffered he made no threats”. If our Lord and Master passively took the insult, we should also follow his example.
- We are to bless because we trust in God’s judgement. Peter tells, in the same verse quoted above, that Jesus did not retaliate because ‘he entrusted himself to him who judges justly’. The confidence that God will judge justly and he will take care of justice will make us calm in hostile environment.
- Finally, we are to bless because we will be inheriting a blessing (1 Peter 3: 9). The satisfaction of giving back what you have received will last only for some time. But when you give up the insult in God’s hand, God will replace it with a blessing.
So what are we going to do when we face insult? Will we succumb to pressure and our natural inclination or we will try to live according to the WORD?
Rev. John Jebaseelan