On the Contrary, Bless
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless…(1 Peter 3:9)
It is natural to repay evil for evil. A harsh word for a harsh word, a strike for a strike. I feel my proclivity toward this tit-for-tat behavior.
Responding to reviling in like kind keeps the momentum of reviling going, not unlike a flywheel which needs a little push to keep going on and on. Thus, these unhealthy interactions keep darkness in the world. Satan smiles at this because he takes ground.
The only way to fight back is to absorb the evil or reviling, to draw it in close to the chest and squeeze it until it bleeds through your arms. Someone must pay, and to the follower of Jesus this is no dilemma. Pay the price.
Jesus, of course, did the real paying. He, the perfect one without blame or fault, showed us the way: endure quietly, agonize in prayer, pray for your persecutors. He thus absorbed the collective reviling of the entire world. We think of the solider who dives on a grenade as the ultimate sacrifice – and he is a hero – but Jesus took our grenades all at once.
When the scales are tipped, things must be made right again. Because Jesus went first, we can right the scales in our everyday interactions with our fellow man.