For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. – 1 Peter 3:17
Meditation: One of the most difficult things to do is good for someone who harms you or wishes you harm. When we are hurt, we want to strike back. We want revenge even if only at a small level. However, when we read the Gospels and the other books of the New Testament, we see a different pattern. Instead of vengeance, Jesus taught us to apply mercy and grace to those who persecute us.
Upon closer examination, we understand that Christ called for meekness and longsuffering, because this is the nature of God. God only uses force when no other recourse remains, and then He only uses it to the extent necessary. Unfortunately, human beings are naturally stubborn and rebellious resulting in our falling further and further away if God does not intervene. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalms 103:13-14). Therefore, if God’s does not first respond with retaliation, then neither should we respond in that way.
We must rather be willing to suffer in well-doing to shame those that persecute us in hope of their conversion and in every case demonstrating the Spirit of Christ who said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) as they crucified Him.
Martin Luther King once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” (Strength to Love). This truth is profound, and King received this notion from Christ. Though the Lord suffered unjustly, He still demonstrated grace, because the day of judgement was not yet present. Ideas like this would turn the world upside down.
Call To Action: Along these lines, the Lord also said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).
Apply this Spirit of Christ today. Turn the other cheek and pray for those who seek your hurt. Do them good and not evil, and so you will show them Christ.