When I was a kid I could recall my parents telling me not to hit my brother or sister back during any disagreement. Pretty standard parental advice for siblings, especially for a middle child like myself. In the literal terms, hitting someone as an initial act or retaliation is not a good option, but how do these passages apply in 3 areas of our lives and not just in the sense of violence?
What we say and how we say it in today’s culture seems to be very tenuous. Some think they can say whatever they want on social media with no repercussion, but the words we use tell others a lot about what is going on in our hearts and minds.
Paul writes “Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” (Romans 12:17), but, most importantly, doing what is right in God’s eyes. Think about how that social media post or comment on someone else’s post sounds before sending it out.
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” (1 Peter 3:9). Everyone has someone in their sphere that just rubbed them the wrong way. It always seems like they are putting you down or just always against you. The scripture today instructs us to not repay their unkind behavior back to them, but to, instead, show undeserved kindness to them. This is very challenging, especially if you know that you aren’t the person who should be apologizing.
Pray for patience and kindness to be part of your response to that person.
3. Thought Life
It’s easy to turn to harsh thoughts and want to think poorly about someone who has said or done something against you. Take those thoughts captive and, by doing so, apply the words in Proverbs 25:22:
“…you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
Returning kindness as a response to an offensive act is difficult to do; however, praying for someone or flipping your thought life to the positive instead of negative is even tougher.
There’s never been a better and more opportune time to show kindness to the opposite political party, the other side of the vaccination fence, or to someone who just doesn’t believe what you do.
So, the next time you have the chance to “hit back”, choose to respond with His unfailing kindness!