By Madison Moore –
Do you ever just wish you could tell someone off for their offense against you? I do. I’m a peacemaker, which means I want to run away from conflict at all costs, but sometimes I don’t back down and I’m too quick to speak. Not just my words but also my thoughts. I find myself dwelling often on the sins of others instead of seeing that person as an image bearer, fearfully and wonderfully made and in need of grace. Because as we all know, we are just as sinful as the next person, and our eyes and hearts need adjusting to see our own messiness.
Yesterday I was reading in 1 Peter 3 and read these verses:
“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.”
There’s a lot packed in here, but what struck me is Peter telling Christians to bless those who do evil against them. Yes, I know that revenge belongs to God and that we’re supposed to offer grace, but, bless—that’s a lot to ask, God.
In the Greek, ‘bless’ here, means to speak well of; to praise. We do this because of the grace and mercy God has shown us in Christ Jesus. We’re imitators of Christ, and if our hearts are seeking God, the Holy Spirit will help us bless others in word and deed. Practically speaking, this could mean asking God to bless a particular person’s day, for them to have a revelation in Christ Jesus, for there to be healing in their life, and so on. Or, you can respond with kind words and a smile.
In the following verses in 1 Peter 3, Peter references Psalm 34:12-14:
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.’”
Peter continues to warn Christians against speaking evil and urges us to seek peace and pursue it. I’m reminded of Proverbs 18:21:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
If we truly believe that God is who he says he is, then we must believe that our words matter and hold power—that we can tear down ourselves and others, or we can speak (think and pray) words of life and follow in the footsteps of our Savior.
It’s not easy, but it’s what God has called us to do. It’s for our good and his glory, and God’s ready to bless us for doing so.