“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
The letter of 1 Peter has a consistent theme running through it: Suffering well. Throughout the letter, Peter implores his readers to endure the testing of their faith (v. 1:7), accept unjust suffering with grace (v. 2:19) and follow Jesus’ example of not retaliating when wrongly accused. And in today’s verses we see him instructing us not to return evil for evil but to give a blessing instead. How is that possible?
We live in tumultuous times where there’s tremendous political and cultural unrest and daily examples of social media outrage and “canceling.” In many ways, to think and act as a Christian in today’s world, means you might get called out or shamed. For Peter, writing to a first century Roman audience, it’s almost as if he assumes danger and hostility from the world as they encounter Christians. It’s tempting to want to respond to that hostility in kind and fight fire with fire. But Peter reminds us we were called for a different purpose. What will you do when you face opposition or hostility? How do we respond in a way that honors God?
The answer lies within each and every follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit dwells within us a believers and it empowers us to live and respond to others on God’s terms no matter how the other person or your current situation is treating you. It seems that Peter is telling us that followers of Jesus should never be reactive…rather we should be inventive. May you I be empowered to live inventively, not reactively, and to display harmony, sympathy, brotherly love, kindheartedness and humility.
Question: About what situation or relationship do you most need God’s help to respond inventively?
Challenge: Read, memorize, than meditate on 1 Peter 3:8-9.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, empower me to live and relate to others on your terms rather than in my flesh. Help me to honor the Lord in all I do. Amen.
Geoff Horn, Chapel Leader -- San Diego Padres