by Cheri Cowell @CheriCowell
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV
After graduating from college, I worked as a substitute teacher in area elementary schools. Inevitably in every classroom, there was one child that was the class target.
That child was the brunt of jokes, had few friends, and was teased unmercifully. Today, we’d call this bullying. Quite often, the child’s reaction to the teasing spurred the perpetrators on to further abuse. I deeply felt the pain of these struggling children, because for many years, I was one of them.
On so many days of my elementary and middle school years, I would come home to my father in tears. He would tenderly say, “Well, Cheri, you’re just so pickable, that’s why they pick on you.” He’d then go on to assure me that my reaction was what was fueling their fire, and if I wanted them to stop, I needed to change my how I responded to their barbs.
With his help, I learned to master the wet blanket maneuver. When someone meant me harm, I sent him or her blessings in my mind. And it worked! After a while, it was no longer fun to pick on Cheri.
This isn’t a new concept. God came up with it first. Our Scripture today spells it out. We are to replay evil with blessing. My father had simply been teaching me a biblical principle.
Peter teaches us that to living in a godly way with our fellow brethren must begin with us. Peter tells us to start by being sympathetic, compassionate, and humble. Then he goes on to say, if we truly want harmony, we should refrain from reacting negatively to evil insults.
Wait a minute…what about them?
I can hear myself saying those words to my father. What was I supposed to do, then? Just stand there and take it? No. We are to throw a wet blanket on that fire. Send blessings their way. Pray that God will bless them. When we do, we will receive the greater blessing—knowing we are loving as God loves.
It worked for me back then, and that principle is still valid today. There are a lot of nasty people out there who leap at the chance to find fault or boost themselves up at the expense of others. How we respond can make all the difference.
As you pray today, praise God for being your Heavenly Father who knows what it is like to be the brunt of insults. Ask Him to help you live out your faith by being sympathetic, compassionate, and humble, even when someone is being a bully. Finally, invite Him to help you foster true harmony with those who wish to do you harm by mastering the wet blanket maneuver.
About the author: Cheri Cowell is the author of 365 Devotions for Peace (Thomas Nelson). She can be found at www.CheriCowell.com. Cheri Cowell is also a contributor to When God Calls the Heart to Love. To learn more about Cheri visit www.CheriCowell.com.
Cheri’s latest release is a new Bible study called Becoming His Princess: A Seven Week Study on the Life of Sarah. Co-authored with friends Jennifer Slattery, Susan Aken. and Dena Dyer, it follows Sarah’s uncertain journey from Ur to a place of rest. God met her in the middle of her pain and striving, and rewrote her story—through grace. He wants to do the same for you.
Join the conversation: Have you tried the Wet Blanket Maneuver? What happened?