“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.” -1 Peter 3:9
As hard as it is to hear and to apply the above passage, it isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command and an important one at that.
It is a natural human reaction to try to retaliate against those who do evil things to us and may even be excused from a world’s point of view but against God and His expectations for us. It’s hurtful when people say mean things about you. Trust me, I understand. However, we are told not to repay evil for evil. In fact, the opposite is expected for us to do. We are to bless them. This command is attached to a blessing. If we repay evil with good, we will be granted God’s blessings. I want the blessings, and so I will walk the talk.
I don’t know who is reading this today and you have been lied about and mistreated. I know the pain and hurt caused by this. However, we are not to retaliate in insulting and hurting anyone back. Folks, I’m so scared of God and what He might do to me that I refuse to even think about hurting someone else. My plan of action is simple. I totally move away. I avoid those who purposely hurt me. In doing so, I avoid all possible situations that would arise to cause me to sin along with them.
I asked my board of directors, regarding a situation. “Why is this happening? How can it be? I don’t understand. Have people lost their common sense?” Their wise reply was, “Don’t you understand people love gossip? They love to find fault in leadership, they get high on juicy gossip. They think they got you doing something wrong. They don’t know the whole picture. They prefer to believe the worst rather than stopping the gossip and being led of God in promoting healing and guiding the person into repentance.”
I said to them, “I do understand all you are saying, and I even agree. But it’s not making me feel any better. Then, I saw this passage, it was like the light bulb went on. Last part of this passage says, “...And he will grant you his blessings.” You see, it’s all about obedience. God expects us to obey and do what He says. He said do not repay evil for evil. There’s the command right there. If we missed this part and didn’t get it. He goes on to spell it right out for us. Don’t retaliate by acting like them. Right, that is already difficult to do. However, He doesn’t end it there. He goes on to say, “Pay them back with a blessing.” He ignores mentioning the word “Evil” in His command as if the evil they are doing isn't important. He says, “Pay them back with a blessing.” The next logical question is, “How do we repay with good?” I honestly struggled with this. Finally, I understood.
God is interested in our attitudes and actions. He is always going after our character. This means, you and I do not fight back by attacking their sins. We let them talk. We let them tell their version of what happened. We let them gossip, lie, and slander. Let them roll in the mud of hatred. You don’t go there with them. Michelle Obama made a statement I believe will go down in history. She said, “When they go low, we go high!” I think that’s one of the best phrases we can adopt for ourselves. I respect that statement. It goes with what the Bible has to say. Don’t retaliate by insulting them back. Go higher. Take the high road by not insulting back or acting like them. You ignore. Who cares what people like that have to say anyway? As long as you know the real truth, you're golden.
Now comes the blessing part. If you do what God has called you to do, God will grant YOU the blessing. Guess who will not receive the blessings? Those who caused the problems and those who added insult to the injury by listening and stirring the mud. Mud is gross and disgusting. It’s where pigs lay and play. You want to go there too? You stay out and keep clean by not insulting back. It’s okay to give them this power.
I really stand by this rule I apply to my life. The moment someone decides to believe lies told about me, I walk away quietly. Friends, please, the biggest trap you can fall into is the trap of trying to get even or defend yourself. You do not need to call, have coffee, or go out for dinner with anyone who believes stories spread about you. They have shown you their unwise decision to sit and listen to the gossip about you. This means they desire to find something negative to believe about you without giving you the respect to tell your side of the story. Now, do you really want to have these kinds of friendships? Your answer should be a big fat, "No!" Run away from people who act this way.
I suggest you write this passage out and meditate on this truth.
"Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, 'I will take revenge; I will pay them back,' says the LORD," (Romans 12:19NLT). Be concerned about what God has to say about you not what gossipers have to say about you. People are not that naïve. Anyone that gossips is considered a foolish person to begin with. Your actions will prove you right or wrong. Stay away from such people. God blesses those who obey what God tells them to do. The blessings rest on the person who didn’t retaliate and allowed the gossip even when it truly hurt them deeply. Feelings are controlled by you. Don’t allow the spirit of retaliation, hate, and vengeance enter your mind, heart, or spirit. Follow what God has to say. Forgive, and allow God to handle it for you. Submit to God and let him defend your honor. Please take His blessings and do what is right before His eyes.
Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President