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” (I Peter 3:9).
The Apostle Peter now transitions in speaking to all believers in Christ about living peacefully in a pagan culture. We can all identify I believe with that since the culture we are now living in has become pagan before our eyes.
In light of the perspective of submission to the God created institutions of government, work and marriage, the apostle begins to encourage all believers to embrace specific Christian attitudes and behaviors in all areas of living. While not an exhaustive list, it is one which all disciples of Jesus should seriously embrace.
In vs. 8, Peter listed five virtues of Christian living specifically related to how we speak. I Peter 3:9 relates to how we physically behave towards others.
First, we are not to repay evil for evil. I’m sure you have seen the sign or bumper sticker which says, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” The phrase Peter used literally means to give back evil for having received evil. Evil (κακός; kakos) means to treat someone harshly, harmfully, or in a damaging way.
The Christians to whom Peter was writing to had experienced evil treatment by the government and possibly by others. It would have been easy for them to retaliate or to respond with the same type of behavior. It comes naturally, but God says no.
The Apostle Paul says something similar in Romans 12:17-21: 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
So, instead of insulting the president, pray for him. Instead of yelling back at your boss behind his back, bless him/her. Instead of ignoring your wife or husband, speak kindly to them.
We may not be able to control the evil we encounter and experience in this fallen culture, but we sure can control how we respond to it. Have a blessed day!
Soli deo Gloria!