Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 3:9
“Not returning evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:9
This verse addresses what our response should be if someone wrongs us in any way. This is the summation of what he spoke about in the first seven verses of this chapter, addressing what the relationship should be like between a husband and wife. Then, in verse eight we read, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;” 1 Peter 3:8. Presumably, he is speaking about how to react when wronged by a spouse. However, this fits with whoever does us wrong. First, he states we must be harmonious in our relationships, meaning we should be in unity. Also, we are to be sympathetic, being kind and showing love to everyone. And, we are to be humble, not trying to lift ourselves above another.
Now granted, this is speaking regarding our physical family as well as our Christian brothers and sisters. However, this is simply the focus of this writing. Jesus spoke of this in relation to all people. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:38-39. The general idea here is that we are not to set ourselves against an evil person who is injuring us. Now, this does not say that we are to allow people to injure or kill friends, family members, ourselves, or our Christian brothers and sisters. We can defend ourselves and others, however, it should not move forward into the realm of repaying them in like manner. I do not believe that Christ meant for us to watch as someone is killed or harmed. We can defend ourselves, but as verse thirty-nine alludes to, we must not return evil for evil.
And this idea is expanded on in the next couple of verses. “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Matthew 5:40-41. The idea here is that if someone sues us, do not resist them, but give them more than they sued us for. And if they force us to do something, as long as it is not wrong or sinful, then we should, as the saying goes, go the extra mile. What we are doing is showing them love in the midst of their wrongdoing. Who knows what positive effect you will have on them, maybe even opening their hearts to the truth of Christ.
This can be a difficult thing to do. However, the purpose of this is to show the love of God to those who may require any of these, or similar things of us. And this is what we are called to do; to share Christ to all we come across. And if this means we suffer in order to make this happen, so be it. The disciples did, Christ also did. Therefore we may be called to as well. And if, in the process, we make a difference in someone’s life for the cause of Christ, then it was a good thing.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.