When He Was Reviled, He Did Not Revile In Return

a portrait of Jesus Christ resigning himself to destiny..
The Christian antidote to resentment, and the toxic human impulse to “get even.”

Today, I want to share a verse about the life of Christ that has powerful implications for emotional healing and spiritual growth. One of the purposes of Christ’s life was to show us how to live. Without an example or role model, we as people are left with nothing but our instincts, and many times our instincts can get us into serious trouble. The verse in question comes from 1 Peter 2:23, and it describes Christ’s response to being severely mistreated by other human beings.

Christ Entrusted Himself To The Father

When he [Christ] was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

1 Peter 2:23

According to Merriam-Webster, the word revile means to “subject to verbal abuse.” Reviling can take the form of criticisms, harsh judgments, and downright insults, all of which Christ endured in abundance. If anybody had a reason or right to be resentful it was Jesus, whose life was characterized by sincere intentions and goodwill toward others.

I meditate on 1 Peter 2:23 when I feel that others have wronged me, through words, through actions, through gossip, criticism, judgment and the like.. The natural human instinct is to repay evil for evil. The divine reaction is to trust that God will make every situation right in the end. He will defend our honor, so we do not have to defend it ourselves.

Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”

Proverbs 24:29

If we are resentful today, it is because we have made a habit of reviling others in return (in our hearts, if not to their faces). All of that negative, vengeful energy stays with us forever, damaging our health, emotions, and spiritual life, unless it is transformed into something positive.

The application of 1 Peter 2:23 entails a weight being lifted of our shoulders. Resentment, indeed, is a heavy burden to bear.

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.

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