“Pay Back With A Blessing!”

1 Peter 3:8-9 (NEB)

What should you do when people hurt you and speak evil against you?

1. BECOME DEAF AND DUMB!

"But I am like a deaf man, who does not listen; like the dumb man, who does not open his mouth. Yes, I am like a man who does not hear and in whose mouth there are no arguments. For in Thee, Lord, I hope..." (Psalm 38:12-15)

(a) DEAF. How curious we are to hear what people are saying against us! When we know this is happening, we must become deaf and do not even try to find out. We will be saved from many hurts, if we do not know.

(b) DUMB. If we do hear their accusations, we are to act dumb, with no reproofs or arguments. This was Jesus' example in the face of accusation and trial:

"But Jesus held His peace..." (Matthew 26:59-63)
"Jesus answered nothing...He answered never a word" (Matthew 27:11-14)
"He opened not His mouth..." (Isaiah 53:7)
"When He was insulted, He did not answer back with an insult; when He suffered, he did not threaten, but placed His hope in God." (1 Peter 2:21-23)

2. REJOICE AND LEAP FOR JOY!

"BLESSED are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. REJOICE YE IN THAT DAY, AND LEAP FOR JOY: for behold your reward is great in heaven..." (Matthew 5:11-12)

The literal meaning for "leap for joy" is to "jump, bound and spring." Have you ever tried jumping and leaping when you have been persecuted? Try it. It will bounce all the hurt out of you!

3. FORGIVE!

"If you will forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you too; but if you do not forgive people, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14,15; 18:21-35; Luke 17:3,4; Ephesians 4:32)

4. FORGET!

"Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." (Ephesians 4:26)

Forgive before you go to sleep at night, and then don't talk about it. You will forget it if you don't talk about it!

5. LOVE!

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies." (Matthew 5:44)

If a little bit of love isn't effective, increase the dose. The remedy for the ineffectiveness of a little love is MORE LOVE! A Chinese saying says, "Don't try to put out the fire of a load of hay with a cup of water!" The more you have been hurt, the more love you'll need to pour on!

6. BLESS!

"BLESS them that curse you." (Matthew 5:44)

"BLESS them which persecute you, bless and curse not." (Romans 12:14)

"Not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but GIVING A BLESSING INSTEAD." (1 Peter 3:8,9). "Being slandered, WE BLESS." (1 Cor. 4:12)

The Greek word for "bless" is "eulogeo" which means "to speak well of, to invoke a benediction upon, to cause to prosper."

When someone insults you, you give a blessing back in return. The NEB translates it, "RETALIATE WITH BLESSING." Make it the habit of your life to "pay back" with blessing. In 1 Peter 3:8 the word "blessing" is not a noun, but a participle, and should read, "be constantly blessing." Often you will have to bless a person who has spoken against you many times before you are truly free in your spirit. Keep on constantly blessing them until you are totally free of all hurt.

7. DO GOOD!

"Do good to them that hate you." (Matthew 5:44)

8. PRAY!

"Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." How much time in prayer do you spend for those who speak against you?

9. FEED AND PROVIDE FOR THEIR NEEDS!

"If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you." (Proverbs 25:21,22; Romans 12:19-21)

10. LET GOD VINDICATE!

"Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

We dare not take from God what is His rightful authority. Only God has the authority to avenge. It is His right, and He is the only One who can do it with pure judgment. You can trust God.

When you bless those who hurt you, you overcome THREE ENEMIES at once:

1. THE DEVIL who will take advantage of a wounded, hurt and unforgiving spirit and get a foothold in your life. Proverbs 18:14 says, "A wounded spirit, who can bear?" It will destroy your life. But as you pray and bless your enemy, your spirit will be made free and healed.

2. YOUR ENEMY, the one who has hurt you. As you bless them, God will work on them to also change their attitude.

3. YOURSELF. This is the greatest victory of all! As you bless, you will be cleansed, healed and blessed yourself. Your words are boomerangs and always come back on you.

"IT IS NOT IN YOUR NATURE TO BLESS THOSE WHO HAVE HURT YOU,

but

IT IS IN CHRIST'S NATURE, AND HE LIVES IN YOU!

(Courtesy of Pastor Robert Gifford, Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Dale City, VA)