“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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. For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 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."”
(1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV)
Our first instinct, when we are wronged, is to pay the other person back. Our first instinct is to treat them as they have treated us. And we instantly begin thinking of ways that we can do so.
Our mind starts thinking of a quick retort. Thoughts and plans of revenge quickly fill our mind. In fact, our mind is often consumed by these thoughts. And, quite often we act on them.
We act on them thinking that, in this way, we are standing up for ourselves. We act on them thinking that, in this way, we’re teaching them a lesson. We act on them thinking that, in this way, we are demonstrating that we will not be a doormat for anyone.
Peter, however, calls us to a different reaction. He reminds us that we have been called to bless. And, for this reason, we are to strive for a unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a tender mind.
Most of us realize that we are called to be a blessing. However, we only apply this understanding in situations where kindness is being displayed toward us. We seek to bless only those who are blessing us. We fail to apply it when we are on the receiving end of evil.
But, even then, we are called to be a blessing. We are to turn from our evil desires and pursue peace. We are to do so realizing that our actions are known by God.
We must recognize that it’s not possible for us, at the same time, to pursue evil and righteousness. We must recognize that it’s not possible for us, at the same time, to pursue the Lord and wickedness. Pursuing the Lord means turning from our sinful desires. It means leaving those desires behind.
Christ himself sought the blessing of those who abused him and put him to death. He prayed that they would be forgiven. May we, then, demonstrate the same love and grace. May we seek to be a blessing even to those who are undeserving.