In the past I’ve run into unexpected cruddy behavior and found myself asking, “What in the world do I do now, and how can I make it as painful for them as possible?” I’m probably naturally pugnacious (what do you think?) so I tend to want to get in a scrap; at the same time, I usually don’t feel any truly ill will toward people who are calling me names. I just want to be a snot.
I was talking to a friend about how to handle situations where someone really comes to loathe you, but you don’t have any latent negative feelings toward them. Because I’m pretty dense at times, I was asking “What in the world do I do, and how can I make it as painful for them as possible?” rather than, “What in heaven’s name can I do to make this as painless and peaceful as possible?”
The latter is pretty easy!
My son, do not forget my teaching,—Proverbs 3:1-3 (AMP)
But let your heart keep my commandments;
For length of days and years of life
And tranquility and prosperity they will add to you.
Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you [instead let these qualities define you];
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Too many times I have gleefully pulled out some verbal scimitar and prepared for personal battle. Thankfully, over the years I’ve gone from debating people for kicks and laughs to mostly just amusing myself via really dumb humor (Disney Promises to Reboot Star Wars with Director Who REALLY Hates Star Wars This Time; United States THIS Close to Paying Off War of 1812). Yet sometimes I still find myself having a fight brought to me, and that’s not a shock given that I’m a human who talks to other humans. Such a point is where I need to mostly let it go, since there’s little to gain and much to lose.
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 3:8-9
All of the above is a long way for me to say that 1 Peter 3:8-9 is correct. It’s easy to say, “I think you’re a pretty awesome person, and I don’t want you worrying about me too much. Live long and prosper, partner! Now off I go!” Even better, it will help you sleep well, relieve you of wasting time in silly battles, and of course give you more time to pursue hobbies that you can enjoy with other people, rather than against other people.