Pink Shirt Day
I few years ago in Nova Scotia a freshman gets ready for his first day of school. As he’s going through his closet he finds a pink shirt, he grabs it, puts it on, and heads off to school. As this new freshman is walking down the halls of his massive high school, he’s suddenly grabbed from behind, thrown to the ground, and kicked a couple of times by the school bully. The bully said some really mean and hurtful things, but the gist of what he said was, “don’t you ever wear pink again.”
As the freshman is laying there in the hallway two Juniors get on their knees next to him, and as they’re helping him they say, “hey, we saw the whole thing, will you wear that shirt again tomorrow?” “Are you kidding, did you see what just happened to me?” Yeah, wear the same shirt tomorrow, don’t worry we got your back.”
That kid had a choice, but what he didn’t know is that those two juniors had a choice as well. The two Juniors later that day would go onto social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email) and tell the entire school to wear pink the next day. This high school in Nova Scotia (1,400-1,500 students) rallied and over 1,370 students showed up to school wearing pink the next day. They made a huge declaration that there would be no more bullying at their school.
Nova Scotia caught wind of this and declared the first day of school “Pink Shirt Day” as a day dedicated to Anti-Bullying. In 2012, the United Nations caught wind of “Pink Shirt Day” and declared the official Anti-Bullying day to be May 4, which is recognized by over 25 countries worldwide including the US, Australia, and Great Britain. All because two Juniors stopped to help their neighbor, a freshmen kid who got beat up because he wore the wrong color shirt to school.
But what if this wasn’t how the story went? What if the young freshman just had enough and went home to find a gun, returned the next day to school, and take care of the problem? In this particular story evil was repaid with good, but that’s unfortunately not the norm.
“Don’t repay evil for evil.”
In our 1 Peter passage today the “you” in verse 8 are Christians. The call of Peter is for Christians to be of one mind. Christians sympathizing with each other. Loving each other as brothers and sisters. As we keep reading we get to the meat of verse 9, “Don’t repay evil for evil.”
1 Peter 3:8-12 (NLT) 8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”
The Challenge Today
With the presence of evil is all around us, and I’m sure you’ll encounter it at some point today. When evil walks into our lives, we have a choice. Our choice is to either repay that evil with more evil, or to repay them with a blessing.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
– John Wesley