“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
When someone disappoints or upsets you, what do you do? Pull out your big guns and react? Do you say, “You make me so mad!”? When you say that, you’re admitting someone else is controlling your emotions. You’re acknowledging you have given that person the power to determine your feelings and reactions. No one can take control from you — you give it away the moment you start reacting!
The Bible says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). To retaliate is to react. But to forgive is to act. It’s saying, “I choose the way I respond.” Do other people control your emotional state? Do you let them raise your happiness level or plunge you into worry, fear, or anger? “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
The person who can control their moods and reactions is stronger than a walled city. But a person who cannot control their own spirit is defenseless, like a city with no walls around it. That person has no defense; they are at the mercy of whatever anyone wants to do to them. Strength is found in gentleness, and gentleness has the ability to handle hurt without retaliating; it can absorb the blow without needing to strike back. Jesus called it “turning the other cheek” (see Matthew 5:39). You say, “That’s not easy to do.” No, it’s not; sometimes it’s almost impossible. You say, “To respond that way is not natural.” You’re right, it is supernatural; it is the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). You need God’s power to live this way.
Lord, grant me Your grace and strength to reach out to others, not with anger or malice, but with gentleness and forgiveness. Let my anger flow from me and let Your peace fill my heart and mind and spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.