1 Peter – Chapter Three XIII

by Ed Urzi

“not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

It seems that cinematic vigilantes who seek punish evil are never in short supply. These movie characters are sometimes portrayed as men of few words who take the law into their own hands. They are often brooding loners and anti-heroes who are quick to solve problems with their fists or guns. They are men of violent action who serve as judge, jury, and executioner- and there are millions of movie-watchers who undoubtedly wish they could solve their problems in a similar manner, if only for a day.

These images stand in stark contrast to the counsel given to us here in 1 Peter 3:9: “Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult…” (CEB). This represents one of the more challenging aspects of the Christian life, for it is often difficult to avoid the urge to strike back at who injure us. But such retaliatory measures often produce a negative cycle: someone hurts us, so we hurt that person back. The second person hurts us again in return, and the cycle continues.

To break that cycle, we must implement the teaching given to us here in 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” (ESV). This aligns with Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).

The Gospel of Luke adds…

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:35-36 NLT).

We’ll continue with a further look at these passages in the context of 1 Peter 3:9 next.