July 23, 2023 devotion on 1 Peter 3:8-9

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. ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9

Simon Peter is writing to the first century church. He is giving them some rules to live by. Rules not in the legalistic sense but more like – if you truly love Jesus this is how it looks. He tells his readers to be like-minded, sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Notice verse 9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” It is so easy to want to repay evil for evil. Deep in our souls is the quest, even the need for justice, especially justice regarding wrongs committed against a loved one or most of all ourselves. We say, “That is not right.” We feel justified in correcting the wrong because in our perspective we know everything we need to know. It’s wrong. I am right. I have been unnecessarily hurt and I need to make it right. Herein is the problem. Our perspective is limited. It is narrow. In reality we don’t have all the facts. And in fact, we tend to see things the way we want to see things. It is called confirmation bias. And we all have it. It is actually more evident and prominent in people who believe that they don’t have it. You tend to see what you want to see and find what you are looking for.

Simon Peter tells his readers, and he is telling us, to “…repay evil with blessing.” Yes, he is saying when some hurt, or heart-ache occurs in your life, do not figure out ways to make them pay. Do not attempt pay backs. Revenge. Or “justice” on your terms. It never goes well. And tends to complicate the issue.

It is interesting to note Simon Peter tells us to speak blessings on the person. To let go of the need to enact justice on my terms and my timetable. Give it to God. I would also recommend letting go of it as well. To hold on to an injustice is to allow the cancer of bitterness to grow in your heart and soul. That bitterness can take root and begin to affect your life in many different areas. Trust me. I’ve been there.

Lord Jesus I come to you. To be candid and transparent, I have tasted injustice. Or at least what I perceived as injustice. I wanted justice. But today I give these things to you. You have the bigger picture. You see far beyond my bias’s and my perspective. Empower me to extend mercy and grace. In your holy name amen.