Do Not Repay

Read: 1 Peter 3:8-22

Two years ago after almost 38 years in prison Malcolm Alexander walked out of a Louisiana prison a free man.  DNA evidence had cleared him of a wrongful conviction that happened back in 1980.  Mr. Alexander had been sentenced to life in prison and served 38 years for a crime that he did not commit.  He had steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout the court proceedings and the many years that followed.  How would we react if we were in this situation?

In 1 Peter 3 we are encouraged to “not repay evil for evil or insult with insult.”  That is great advice to follow but much harder advice to follow through on.  When someone has done wrong to us our first fleshly reaction is to get even or make someone pay for what they have done to us.  While this may curb our appetite for revenge it does nothing for our soul or our ability to move past those situations.  In fact, Peter encourages us to “repay evil with a blessing.”

When Malcolm Alexander was released from Prison on January 30, 2018 he showed incredible grace in the interviews that followed.  He said “you cannot be angry, there’s not enough time to be angry.”  In the 38 years of unjust imprisonment he was not undone by the injustice that put him there.  Instead he spoke of grace, mercy, and thankfulness for now being free.  Jesus gives us the example that Peter writes about in these verses.  Jesus went to the cross to free us from the burden of sin in our lives.  Before he did that he encouraged us to extend grace to others, even those who have done wrong to us.

Make it Personal:  Who do you need to forgive this week?  Who have you been plotting revenge on or trying to get even with?  The example of Jesus’s sacrifice for you and the encouragement of Peter says, “Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with a blessing.”  Grace and mercy is always best, especially when it is hard.

 Have a grace-filled week,  Glen Rhodes