‘He did not retaliate.’ 1 Peter 2:23 NIV
When someone disappoints or upsets you, what do you do? Pull out your big guns and react? Do you say, ‘You make me so mad!’? When you say that, you’re admitting someone else is controlling your emotions. You’re acknowledging you have given that person the power to determine your feelings and reactions. No one can take control from you—you give it away the moment you start reacting!
The Bible says, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:21 NIV) To retaliate is to react. But to forgive is to act. It’s saying, ‘I choose the way I respond.’ Do other people control your emotional state? Do you let them raise your happiness level or plunge you into worry, fear, or anger?
‘Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.’ (Proverbs 16:32 NLT) The person who can control their moods and reactions is stronger than a walled city. But a person who cannot control their own spirit is defenceless, like a city with no walls around it. That person has no defence; they are at the mercy of whatever anyone wants to do to them.
Strength is found in gentleness, and gentleness has the ability to handle hurt without retaliating; it can absorb the blow without needing to strike back. Jesus called it ‘turning the other cheek’ (see Matthew 5:39).
You say, ‘That’s not easy to do.’ No, it’s not; sometimes it’s almost impossible.
You say, ‘To respond that way is not natural.’ You’re right, it is supernatural; it is the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22–23).
You need God’s power to live this way.
SoulFood: Jer 51–52, Matt 26:14–25, Ps 118:1–9, Pro 15:27–30
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023