Evil for Evil 

Combustion | Devotion #1: Evil for Evil
Katrina Young | Nursery & Pre-K Director 

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9

I think my siblings would agree that the only form of communication that we knew growing up was to argue. It is hard to admit, but in a dysfunctional family we did not even recognize it was wrong; it was our way of life! We had more heated exchanges and explosive arguments than I care to remember. Honestly, I do not even remember the cause or the reason for any of them, only that in the end someone was hurt. Thankfully those were my BC (before Christ) days and I vowed to break the mold and never conform to that means of communication again – and then my boys became teenagers! Those of you who have gone through these years with your children can relate to the explosive nature of their personalities and emotions. A simple conversation can lead to a misunderstanding and flip on you in a heartbeat. My son reminds me often of something that he believes I said in the midst of one of those disagreements. It is something I have no memory of, “but he does,” and it hurt him deeply! A discussion gave way to an emotional disagreement; an exchange of words that resulted in “COMBUSTION!” 

In scientific terms, Combustion reactions always involve molecular oxygen O2. Anytime anything burns (in the usual sense), it is a “combustion reaction.” Combustion reactions are almost always exothermic (they give off heat). We all know that oxygen feeds a fire. When we exchange words, or “evil” for “evil,” we are breathing life into smoldering emotions. The verse in 1 Peter says very clearly that we are not to exchange evil for evil, but on the contrary, “Bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” 

The chemistry that makes us who we are as a family is also what makes us so enticing to the enemy. He would like nothing better than to create division and pain between the ones that we love the most. Our words can build up and bless or can be harsh and bring tension and separation.  Proverbs 18:21 teaches us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  

With the power of our words, we can “Bless.”  Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. I believe the conversation I had with my son years ago crushed his spirit. I am thankful for forgiveness and the love we have, but I will forever regret falling into the trap of exchanging words resulting in a memory of pain for him rather than a memory of a blessing.   

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19

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