Retaliating With Grace - 1 Peter 3:8-12

Retaliating With Grace

My daughters know how to push each other's buttons. They understand the exact thing that will set the other off. Furthermore, they know how to retaliate in kind toward their sister. Because it isn't fair and everything must be equal. "My way is the only way to do this".

How hard is it for my kids to repay someone's wrongdoing toward them with kindness?

1 Peter 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 
10 For
“Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Here, we see Peter addressing all Christians. Every one of us. It doesn't matter which church we go to or our upbringing. He calls all of us to have unity of mind. God created us as individuals and we are all different. But, we are to be unified in Christ and strive to understand the mind of God more deeply. How can we as Christians achieve a deeper understanding of the mind of God? Reading His Word. 
In the end, the one thing that matters is faith and believing that Jesus is God and came to this earth in human form from a virgin birth, then He died on the cross for our sins and rose again three days later. This is our commonality and how we are like-mind.

Next, we need to love each other, demonstrate sympathy and have a tender heart with a humble mind. Jesus tells the Pharisees in Matthew 22:37-39, what the greatest commandment is. We see in that passage: "37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Once we set our priorities, loving God with all our being and loving our neighbors, then the next section should come easier to fulfill. If we love God above all and put our neighbors before us, then enduring persecution comes as 2nd nature. Persecution can be a big word with many harsh and personal definitions. However, we are called and challenged, to put aside our initial emotions when we experience any wrongdoing against us. It is so much easier to say some quick retort or snide remark, but isn’t it more encouraging and a better example of Christ when we retaliate with grace? God calls us to do the right thing and bless those who wrong us.

When we speak that snide, mean, belittling comment, does it leave a good taste in our mouths? Do we regret saying things to others because it isn’t edifying to God? We are to not ‘rail’ against others and use scolding, harsh, or abusive language.  Peter quotes Psalm 34 in verses 10-12 here.  We are challenged to keep our tongues from speaking evil. Be quick to hear/listen and slow to speak and anger (James 1:19). I mean, I desire to see some good day and enjoy life as mentioned above by Peter. But, he challenges us to hold our tongues and use edifying words, turn from sin and do good, seek the peace that surpasses all understanding and pursue it. This is the receipt to enjoying life. 

Finally, Peter is telling us that God’s eyes are upon the righteous, and look here, His ears are open to our prayers. God listens, and He is attentive. He is there, waiting for us to speak to Him and draw close to Him. Are we still enough to talk to Him? Just because we talk and pray to God and don’t get what we want, doesn’t mean that He isn’t there listening. It likely means that He has a better plan for us. He wants to us communicate with Him. He wants to us learn more about Him and become more united with Him through our personal study and devotion to his Word. 

Therefore, we are to encourage and build up our brothers and sisters who are unified together through Christ. We are to be attentive to God and communicate with Him while holding our tongues and being gracious to those who may wrong us. We are called to be disciples of Christ and walk in His example. Be steadfast in your faith, seek the Peace of God, and pray…for He is listening.
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