“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

The Art of Repaying Insults

(Please read 1 Peter 3:8-12)

February 29

Chances are that you have heard some angry words within the last few weeks (or days) and will hear some more soon. Most of us don’t want to get into situations where someone else, with a few insulting words, can affect how we’re going to feel that day, and we don’t want to be tempted to retaliate in kind. So how can we handle it when people say ugly things to us?

It is comforting to know that the Lord anticipated our need and provided some simple, easy-to-remember instructions in our text for the heat of the moment: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing.”

With blessing? Yes, and since the original word for blessing here is the one from which comes “eulogy,” the nature of the blessing is fairly clear — it is to be commendatory, to speak well of the person firing those verbal shots at you.

Now, kind words won’t always work; sometimes the indignant person insists on staying mad. But it’s pleasant to be able to walk away from a nasty situation knowing you did your best to smooth it out. And if your other “blessings” fail, you may simply need to offer this final one. Your antagonist may not recognize it as a blessing, but it’s a contraction of “God be with ye.” We pronounce it “Good-bye!”

Why not pray now for a peaceful day filled with good will? And a good song to carry in your heart is “Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me.” Surely it will be.

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