Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Mercy

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.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOne truth is that 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 this back! Trying to give as much as we get is not healthy. The Old Testament tooth for tooth justice is not good for trying to heal relationships. Turning the other cheek is what will bring about 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 – because the past has so much baggage and distress – it is hard to move forward. 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 its back. If – even temporarily – each straw can be dealt with one at a time rather than as part of the pile. When we get to the place where we have to try canceling the past – 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.

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 you can show love – show mercy – when what is fair is to retaliate – that gives space for healing.

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 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 your partner says something that hurts – don’t quickly think of what you can say to hurt them back – instead – give space – allow for healing – repay their hurtful statement with a blessing – tell them how much you 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 is such fun – but the damage of the argument can take it’s 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!

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

August 19, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: