“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 bless you for it.”
(I Peter 3:9)
Thoughts… It’s everywhere—on talk radio, the street corner, the classroom, the football field, in the home. People are throwing bombs, verbal bombs, that is. Rather than winning arguments through respectful persuasion, which is what wise, intelligent, mature people do, they are resorting to name-calling.
We live in an age where we are taught to stand up for our rights, defend ourselves, respond tit-for-tat, and never let anyone intimidate us—and getting nasty to do it is now our weapon of choice. On “the street,” you are tagged as weak if you let someone get away with any kind of personal offense without throwing a few nasty bombs back at your antagonist.
But is it really a weakness or is it wisdom to overlook an insult? King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived outside of Jesus Christ, wrote saying, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (Proverbs 29:11)
If you tend toward anger and are quick to retaliate when you have been offended, you might as well hang a sign around your neck that reads, “I’m a fool.” But if you have developed the ability to control your emotions when irritated, Solomon would call you prudent. A prudent person is one who shows discretion, has tremendous foresight, and uses careful judgment. It is a person who responds with patience rather than anger.
Proverbs 16:32 describes that person this way: “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 20:3 states, “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
You will most likely have opportunity for either foolishness or prudence this week, perhaps even today, because someone has insulted or irritated you. When that happens, just remember: God is watching, and he didn’t call you to retaliation, nor to foolishness, but to blessing.
So be a source of blessing, even to the people who don’t deserve it, and God will bless you for it.
Prayer… Lord, increase my patience this week with those who would irritate or insult me. Remind me that I have been called to give out blessing to those who would curse me. Enable me through your indwelling Spirit to love them just as you love me even when I have offended you.
One More Thing… “He best keeps from anger who remembers that God is always looking upon him.” —Plato