1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
9Do 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.
One of the hardest things about offering forgiveness to others is that as humans, we usually want revenge. We want the other people to hurt like we did. We want them to feel guilty and ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done. And then, after they have suffered to our satisfaction, we can show them mercy and forgiveness.
Even if somebody just calls us a name, we usually feel better if we call them a name back—especially if it’s a nastier, more creative name.
But where does it end? What happens when the other person gets you back for your vengeance? What happens when the name calling leads to something worse?
Somebody has to say, “Stop! Enough is enough.” And Jesus says that “somebody” is you. Moreover, Jesus wants you to put a stop to it immediately—not just before it’s about to get out of hand.
It’s hard to fight the urge to respond negatively to someone who’s giving you a rough time. But that’s what Jesus meant when he told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Being able to do that is what sets us apart as Christians.
Memorize today’s Bible verse. Think about it the next time you are trying to decide how to respond to somebody who has hurt you.
If this devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.