1 Peter 3:8-17 (NRSV)

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.
10 For “Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit;
11 let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?
14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, a and do not be intimidated,
15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;
16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. b Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:9 (NRSV)

9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.                            

DEVOTION – Violet Mutasa (Mashonaland, Zimbabwe)

My sister Portia and her four children were ordered out of the house by her husband.  He had decided to end their 20-year marriage.  Our parents took her in, but soon we saw her slip into depression.  A neighbor advised us to take her to a counselor where Portia learned the importance of forgiveness.  Then one day we noticed a great change; Portia was smiling.

Portia found a job and moved out of our parents’ house.  For the next 10 years she raised her children alone.  The Lord guided her and the children.  Later each one attended university.

Then one day Portia called to tell me that her ex-husband had died.  Our family accompanied her to the funeral.  A few months later she received word that her ex-husband’s wife was dead.  The couple left behind four children who were still at primary and secondary levels.  No one from the husbands family was willing to take the children, but Portia offered to do it.  Her four working children helped her take care of these orphans.

God worked miraculously.  All eight children are now working, some overseas.  Each one calls her “mother” Portia is a role model to me and to our community; she never repaid evil for evil.  She is a testimony of what real love means.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Even if the future appears bleak to us, God has another outlook.

PRAYER: O God, when we face rejection may your Holy Spirit help us understand that forgiveness heals us.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: SINGLE PARENTS

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