"Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it." 1 Peter 3:9 NLT
Last Friday People Magazine shared Ultramarathoner Latoya Snell's story of being heckled at this year’s New York City Marathon. At 5 foot 3 inches and 218 pounds, Snell describes herself as a full-figured, powerful and phenomenal woman who uses running to cope with the trials of life. So as she was joyfully focusing on pushing through the last four miles of this famous 26.2 mile race, looking to finish her eighth marathon in four years, she was stunned when a man in the crowd began shouting disparaging comments about her weight. “Shocked and angry, I stopped and retorted expletives and insults. Two other female runners witnessed our confrontation and told me he wasn’t worth it. They were right, of course, but the damage was already done. By that point, I’d lost minutes and much-needed energy to a man who took pride in poking fun at my size.”
You know, regardless of how we look or how well we live, there will always be those people who enjoy putting us down for one reason or another. But when that happens, and you can be sure it will, the Bible reminds us not to "retaliate with insults", but to "instead, pay them back with a blessing." In other words, rather than reacting angrily to put-downs, you and I should pray for the person hurling them. After all, peoples' unkind words usually come from hearts in need of a Savior. And if we "repay evil for evil", they will never be drawn to the Christ they see in us and so desperately need.
So today and every day, may you and I vow to follow the example of Jesus by turning the other cheek when we are insulted and choosing to love others that might never love us back-because, plain and simple, "this is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it."
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word that clearly tells us that we are to respond to insults with kind words and to hatred with love. Help us to walk so closely with You that these would be our natural responses to the bitterness we will experience in this world. And by our actions, may we lead others to You. It's in your precious name we pray Jesus. Amen.