By Mike Gilland
In 1 Peter 3:9, Peter gives us a charge to not “repay evil for evil”. That very thing – the challenge to strike back in anger when we feel that we’ve been mistreated – is a temptation that is common to every human, and it is especially evident in times like these. To say that we are in a frustrating season of our lives is quite an understatement. Yet, God’s Word says to not “repay evil for evil.” How can I live up to that command? Maybe this will help.
I recently spent some time reading and praying for our Sunday service. As I read Psalm 37, I was struck anew with the words that lead up to one of my all-time favorite passages, Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” As much as I love that verse, the verses immediately before it really spoke to my heart. Verses 1 and 2 begin with a challenge to not fret over evil doers, for their day is coming. Yep – in other words, don’t repay their evil with evil. Don’t even worry about them. God will take care of them and the situation.
And then, verse 3 hit me like a lightning bolt. “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” We are called to do good acts, not vengeful ones. And this “good” that we are to do is empowered by and in the context of a solid trust in the Lord.
But that is not all we are called to do; we are to befriend faithfulness. Again, I was freshly impacted by these words. I need to see faithfulness as my friend. Friendship doesn’t just happen. It may spring up suddenly, but true friendship will not be sustained without thought, work and love. And in that same manner, we are to approach and respect both God’s faithfulness to us – and our faithfulness to Him – as we would a desired friend. We are to cultivate faithfulness to the Lord while we live in this land, trusting in Him with all our heart, grateful for His undying love for and His faithfulness to us. Doing this gives us the grace and ability to do the good of which David speaks in this Psalm.
How can I (or we) apply this? For starters, pray right now for that needed right-heart-attitude, so that when we are confronted with a situation that makes us want to strike back and repay the evil that has just been dumped on us, we will instead “do good.” There is a right way to respond. This doesn’t mean that we are always going to take the passive way out or allow ourselves to be run over. But it does mean that we can bring glory to God in the way that we respond. Our faithful God will help us to do just that. We can respond rightly. We can “do good.”
This is a tangible word that David is speaking to our souls. Together, let’s trust God. Let’s do good. Let’s be best buds with God’s faithfulness.
Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers. In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader. As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.