This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are below and in the archives to the right. This is the 29th step:
(29) Not to return evil for evil (cf 1 Thes 5:15; 1 Pt 3:9).
St. Benedict references two Scripture passages with this counsel. The first is from Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, "See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all," (1 Thess. 5:15). The next is from the First Letter of Peter, "Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing," (1 Pet. 3:9).
The motivation for this is clearly stated in Peter's letter when he says that the Lord is against those who do evil. Get it?
If we return evil for evil, then we are evildoers.
If we are in God, then we will only have love and peace to give. Like Christ we will forgive our enemies, we will return their hatred with God's love.
Doesn't it sound humanly impossible to do this? It is, but for God all things are possible.
These steps continually make us aware, like a mega examination of conscience that we need to pray continuously. Prayer is essential because in order to live out the Gospel message, God must be in our every breath.
Our prayer should always be for the other's good.
Is there anyone that could make heaven hell for you? Then you'd better pray for that person. Pray that good will happen to them, that their heart will be touched, and that in the process your heart may also be changed to accept them.
Often love and hate are flip sides of the same coin.
Our Lord's cross is for a sign of victory, for the world it is a sign of defeat. Jesus told his disciples that he has overcome the world, how we respond to evil in our lives shows who we belong to---Jesus or the world.