“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathise with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 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.” (1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT)
Pay Back With Blessings
This charge is for every Christian who has been wounded in deep places, especially by fellow Christians. The admonition is directed at fellow believers who ought to live together in harmony as neighbours and love each other dearly as brothers and sisters—those who should be compassionate towards one another.
But I am very sure each of us has stories of wounds that came from places we least expected—the berating, abuse, tongue-lashing and wrongful treatment that spun our world on its axis. And we found ourselves bent double, reeling in pain we could not find words to express. I know how it feels, especially from people who ought to know better.
However, Paul gave us no room to dissect the actions of those who inflicted deep wounds in our souls. He recommended that we pay them back with blessings. OUCH! What about me?
If we are truly going to live in harmony and love each other as good neighbours in a way that would let the world see that we are Christ’s followers, we will have to look beyond these hurtful actions from our neighbours. We will have to learn to hold our peace as Jesus did and entrust ourselves into the hands of God, who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:22-23). When He suffered, Jesus made no threats of vengeance or retaliation. He allowed God to take care of it.
We must repay with blessings so we don’t allow the devil to take advantage of our wounded hearts.
Prayer of Response:
Heavenly Father, I know it is for my good that I must learn to pay back with blessings when my neighbour hurts me, but I struggle not to hold it against them. Heal the wounds in my heart. Let Your Balm of Gilead make my wounded heart whole again.
Questions to Ponder:
- In what subtle ways do we try to retaliate when we have been wounded by our neighbours in the body of Christ who ought to know better?
- How would you let God heal you in the deep places where the wrongful treatment has wounded you from others in a way that you can ultimately repay them with blessings.
—Submitted by Irene Olumese
Irene lives in Geneva with her husband and two adult sons. She is a bilateral amputee who speaks and writes to inspire hope. As a certified Faith-Informed Transformational/Trauma Coach, Irene helps those facing adversities go beyond their traumatic experiences and find meaningful purpose. She works in Lagos, Nigeria, as the Founder of the Feet of Grace Foundation, a charity organisation that provides prosthetic limbs for indigene amputees.
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