Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Don’t Repay Evil for Evil

1 Peter 3:9

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.

Life ChangeHatred and evil are running rampant in our nation these days. Satan is having a hay day it seems. The deep divide in our nation is getting wider and deeper.

We have seen a battle of late over our southern border. The President of the United States (the POTUS) laid out his plan to protect and secure our southern border last night. No sooner had he shared his plan – leaders of the opposing political party got on the airways to rebut what he had just said. There was a disconnect – it seemed to me. Their response didn’t really address the situation at the border. It merely said the POTUS had it wrong. It seems like we have gotten to the place where policies are right or wrong – depending on the person or political party expressing them. These same politicians from the left were toting exactly what the POTUS expressed a few short years ago when they were in power. This is not healthy for our nation and in my opinion is simply hatred. It is not in the best interest of our nation for the two main parties to simply oppose one another – instead of working together to compromise and work for our nation’s best interest.

Instead of simply standing still and throwing mud at each other – giving evil for evil so to speak – they should get together and solve the government shutdown and border security issue (something many on both sides voted for in the past).

One truth that I have always heard through the years is this – hurting people hurt others. If healing is to occur – we need for people to break the chain of hurting each other. In marriage counseling – I often run into couples who are in a vicious cycle of tit for tat (equivalent retaliation) – he/she did this or said this and so I must say or do this back! Trying to give as much as we get is not healthy! The Old Testament’s tooth for tooth justice is not good for trying to heal relationships. The New Testament call to turn the other cheek is what will allow for the space for healing.

Often – in marriage counseling – we have to come to ground zero – a place where we call time out and suggest a cleaning of the slate – forgetting/forgiving the past (and this is not easy for sure – because the past has so much baggage and distress – it is hard to move forward – continuing in the past pain). I’m not suggesting the past isn’t important or shouldn’t be dealt with – eventually – but in order to move beyond the breaking point – a cleansing often has to occur. The camel’s back broke from the weight of one more piece of straw because there was so much straw already on it’s back. If – even temporarily – each straw could be dealt with on its own rather than as part of the pile – we might find some room for healing (even in our political system today). If we can get the place of dealing with each hurt individually – we usually give each partner some things to work on – like work on loving their partner and respecting their partner – even if they don’t merit it. Showing love and respect often allows for a space for healing.

We will not heal the political anger and evil in our nation if each side continues to remind us – every time we meet – of the sordid history of the other party in our nation. Hatred will always exist within the extremes of each side to every argument. These extremists need to be rebuked and called out as outside the norm – outside the acceptable realm of decent humans everywhere.

Today’s passage talks about giving grace. 1 Peter 3:9 – 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. When we can show love – show mercy – when what is fair is to retaliate – that gives space for healing. Godly behavior allows for grace and love – even when it is not deserved.

Think with me about the last argument you and your spouse had – or you and any friend/co-worker/family member. It most likely wasn’t that big of a deal – it didn’t have to end the way it did – but it soon escalated because each side allowed past hurts to enter the picture and each person tried to one up the other in the argument – trying to hold their ground or to get in their shots. In marriage – we know each other very well – and have a history. We know what upsets the other person – we know how to push their buttons and make them emotional – angry – or shut down. We need to learn to fight fair – as I call it – and not allow ourselves to go for the soft underbelly of our partner.

When our partner says something that hurts – don’t quickly think of what we can say to hurt them back – instead – give space – allow for healing – repay their hurtful statement with a blessing – tell them how much we love them (yes – right in the midst of an argument). Many arguments are not really worth the effort – now are they? Is the hurt of going toe to toe really worth it (I know – making up can be such fun – but the damage of the argument can take its toll over time)? Is there really a winner when we develop hard feelings in our marriage through an argument? Can’t we do better by showing love – even in hurtful situations? I’m just saying… Be a blessing rather than part of the hurt!

There must be a better way to govern ourselves! We need reasonable men and women in office who can talk to one another instead of past one another. We need politicians who aren’t trying to get the latest sound bite – but are seeking truth and what’s best for America. Has any POTUS been perfect – of course not. But – unless we will simply be in a holding pattern for two years – we need all sides to talk and stop giving evil for evil to one another.

There are those on both sides of the aisle that did not have peace in mind! We must not allow the radicals – the extremists on any side – to define who we are as a nation – as a people. We must find a better way to improve our society. There must be a better way!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

P.S. – Each day in 2019 – as we approach February 23rd and the Special General Conference of the UMC – spend 5 minutes praying for the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of the delegates. Thanks.

January 9, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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