"Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it." Sometimes, I wish I'd never read these words in 1 Peter 3:9.
There is nothing as easy as a verbal retaliation. It used to be one of my biggest challenges. Even when I resisted the temptation, I found pleasure in sharing with my assistant, my husband, or a friend the words that I would have said had I not chosen the high road. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me that this was still my way of getting indirect satisfaction. As I studied the Scriptures dealing with conflict management, I learned that the root meaning of the word "retaliate" is to "return the punishment". Avenging the wrongs perpetrated against us is God's job; we must rely upon His grace to resist the temptation to return the punishment. In recalling those times when I have been victorious, I realize that my responses required HUMILITY, a DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND THE OTHER PERSON'S BEHAVIOR, and A COMMITMENT TO OBEY AND GLORIFY GOD.
I ENCOURAGE you to take up this challenge and see yourself grow ten feet tall in the spirit. Try to stay mindful of the fact that when we decide that it is our personal responsibility to avenge the wrongs perpetrated against us, we have crossed the boundary into forbidden territory.
I've decided to turn Peter's admonition against retaliation into a personal declaration:
"I will not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this I have been called so that I may inherit a blessing."
LET'S NOT ALLOW RETALIATION TO CAUSE US TO MISS OUR BLESSING!