"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)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)
Do not repay evil for evil? Do not hate your enemies and those who persecute you?
Why did Jesus say this?
Why did Peter instruct us of this, and in that
same vein, why in the same passage as he is admonishing husbands and
wives on how to act to one another? Ever wonder about that? When you
have a disagreement with someone, when someone has done you wrong, when
even the people who should love you most – your spouse, your child, your
parent, your best friend – are being cold and unfeeling towards you, or
even openly hostile, why does God tell us DO NOT repay evil for evil?
Is it wrong for us to think thoughts of revenge? It is wrong for us to carry on some internal dialog about how they did us wrong and how they deserve to reap the fruits of their own poison planting? Aren’t we justified in our anger?
The short answer is no.
But why? Does God desire us to be treated unfairly, unkindly, even illegally? Doesn’t He care that we are suffering at the hands of someone else, even if that suffering is not quite as severe as we think it is?
He does, and because He does, He commands us NOT to do evil in return, for evil is sin and sin separates us from God and makes our hearts cold and bitter and hard. Too much for too long will create a heart that cannot feel any love towards God or anyone else, including ourselves.
So be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun
go down on your anger. Do not give Satan a foothold.
Ultimately, as we well know but sometimes forget, Satan is our enemy and
he IS scheming to knock us down! Turn from evil. Obey God
and see His blessings in the land of the living.
Yours in Christ,