I was reading a devotion this morning and it was based around 1 Peter 3:9 "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." I find that an amazing passage, one that many of us, myself included, have a hard time putting into practice.
My first reaction when someone does something to me or says something to me that sets my teeth on edge, is to respond in the same way. When someone hurts me by what they say, I want to hurt them back. I want to retaliate. I want to get them more than they got me. That is my nature.
I have to fight against that - even when it comes to my wife and children (perhaps more so with my wife than anyone - maybe because I feel "safe" there, knowing that she will continue to love me despite my being a jerk to here, who knows?). I want to say something or do something to hurt that person that hurt me. If I see a post on Facebook that makes me mad, I want to type something mean-spirited back to them. If I receive an email that is not right, I want to shoot one back that is even worse than the one I received.
Sin! SIN! That is what I am fighting against. I am fighting my sinful nature. That rears its ugly head time and again. And it is too easy to give in to it. To answer the call of anger, bitterness, hatred, hurt and a whole host of other feelings.
How do I overcome that feeling or action? By not relying upon myself. To do so is to fail. It is at those moments when I need to stop myself from acting and ask the Lord to fill my heart with His love and forgiveness. I need to pray to Him to give me the same spirit that He had on the cross - the spirit that lead Him to say, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." How can He pray that prayer when He is hanging on a cross, dieing? It is because He looked to His heavenly Father for guidance and strength. So, too, should we.
Father, help me to have the spirit to bless those who revile or anger me. Father, give me the spirit to love those who hate me. Father, give me the spirit of Your Son who loved me despite my arrogance, stupidity and sinfulness. Father, give me the spirit to bless those who curse me, to offer a blessing instead of a word of anger. Father, change my spirit, my being, my actions. Father, change ME!
"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." Father, let that be my action in all I do today.