“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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.” I Peter 3:8-9. This passage is not suggesting approving of false doctrine or failing to stand for the Truth of God’s Word to maintain unity among Believers but have, as William MacDonald in the “Believer’s Bible Commentary” states, “in fundamentals, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in everything, love.” Further, we are to always have love for and have sympathy with (“suffer with”) all persons while always maintaining a tender heart sensitive to the needs and feelings of others with a spirit of humility.
As Christians, we are not to revile anyone but rather be persons who bless others. This is not to bless someones sinful life or wrongful acts but “to speak well of” a person to the extent possible while desiring their well-being. The old adage, “if you cannot say anything nice about a person say nothing at all”, certainly applies to a Christian. Christians have a calling to bless and are promised a blessing as a reward. Peter outlines one blessing by quoting Psalm 34:12-16 – “What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.” If a Christian guards his speech, turns from evil, and zealously seeks peace he will be blessed with a life that is long and worthwhile.
Let us strive to lead a life that, as far as it depends on us, lives peaceably with all (Romans 12:18). This is not to whitewash or fail to stand against sin but to “turn the other check” rather than revile against our revilers or repay evil for evil, always maintaining a tender heart and spirit of humility toward all.