Thursday, October 1
Peace with others
Focus of the Week: Loving others brings peace
Please read 1 Peter 3:8-17
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. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:9, 11
What does it mean to bless someone else? Jesus used it in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed arethe peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Biblical scholars tell us that “blessed” means “happy,” so to bless someone means to make them happy—not in the worldly sense, but in the spiritual sense. This means giving them the kind of joy that bubbles up from deep in their spirit. This kind of joy is so incredible that not even life’s worst circumstances can touch it. It is eternal, unaffected by circumstances, strong, buoyant, uplifting.
God is the only One who can fill a person with this kind of joy. Yet, as His children, we are called to do just that. Notice that there is a warning in this calling: “Do not repay evil for evil.” We are commanded not to take revenge. We are ordered to “turn away from evil” and to “do good.” God recognizes that what He is asking us as Christians to do is not easy. “Doing good” is not our first impulse when someone is attacking us. That is why He has given us His Holy Spirit. As we rely on the Holy Spirit, our first impulse will be to respond the way Jesus would.
There is a third part to this command from God: We are to “seek peace and pursue it.” Peace is the ultimate goal to our resisting revenge and blessing others. Jesus “turned the other cheek” numerous times during His ministry. He took on the anger and viciousness of people around Him, allowing them to hurt Him and say cruel things about Him so that they could get a glimpse of the love and peace of God through His reaction.
How many times do we get so angry when someone unfairly lashes out at us? All we want to do is lash back. An eye for an eye, right? When we are in this situation, we should immediately reach out to God and ask Him what He wants you to do. Our goal in that moment should be to find a way to exhibit peace to the person who is mistreating us. The person is hurting us because he or she is hurting. You see…hurt people, hurt people. Satan has most likely been tormenting this individual in ways we cannot know. It’s time to stop Satan in his tracks by diffusing the spirit of revenge! Do this by funneling God’s love of forgiveness to that person. Ask God to tell you what to say and do that will bless this person and bring God’s peace to his or her heart.
For Further Reading: Matthew 5:3-11; Matthew 5:38-39, 43-48; Gal 5:22-23
Dear Lord, Thank You for being the example of peace for us to follow and for equipping us with the Holy Spirit to bring Your peace to those around us. Please give us the strength to bless those who hurt us. We know that when we do that we give them an opportunity to see You and Your love, forgiveness, salvation, and peace in our eyes. As they experience You, we pray that they feel Your peace and are drawn to live closer to You. In Jesus’ name and for the Father’s glory, Amen.