1 Peter 3:8–9 (ESV) — 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
It is the 5 qualities of vs. 8 which allow you to enter into the ministry of vss. 9 and following.
The world lives on rights. The Christian, as a citizen of the Kingdom, lives more on privileges than rights. The idea here is, for the sake of manifesting Christ’s kingdom in this present age, do not worry so much about standing on your rights, but take up the privilege of living as an agent of Christ right now, in the presence of this dark and fallen world.
So the instructions are NOT: Just grit your teeth and bear it. Nor, just be the bigger person. It is rather – for the sake of manifesting the life of Christ right here and now, respond not only in a lack of retaliation or retort, but actually BLESS the other. Do that which is making evident the Spirit of Christ right in the very midst of evil – whether they perceive it as such or not. Because you were called to suffer like this, and to respond like this, that you may also obtain the blessing that comes from God alone.
To act this way not for the sake of manipulation, but solely because this is what your Heavenly Father has called us to. THIS, is living in stupendous privilege. And to do it with Worldly Governments. With Worldly employers. If in such a circumstance, with an Unbelieving Spouse. In the home with a Believing spouse. In the Church and everywhere else.
To respond in kind is NATURAL: We’ve all heard of the verbal sparring between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor –
“Winston, you are very drunk.
Churchill: And you are very ugly, but in the morning, I will sober!”
Lady Astor: “If you were my husband, I should poison your coffee!”
Churchill: “And if I were your husband, I would drink it!”
We grin and silently applaud Churchill’s rejoinders. But we are God’s children. An office higher than the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
To refrain from a negative response is NOBLE. But to actually seek to bless in response, is nothing less than supernatural.
Want to get back at an enemy Biblically? Bless them. And in it, you’ll be blessed.