1 Peter 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
It used to be taken for granted that we lived in a ‘Christian’ country, unless people were obviously Jews, Muslims or another definite religion, it was assumed that everyone was, more or less, ‘Christian’. This has been swept away, and people who really are ‘Christian’ stand out. In some quarters of society people known as Christians may attract criticism or discrimination, rather similar to first century Christianity and the case for the majority of Christians in the world today. So how does a Christian behave when surrounded by a world that doesn’t understand what we’re about (although they think they do), and is potentially hostile?
The answer comes in Peter’s quotation from Psalm 34. Seek peace, and follow after it. It may be hard to find, this ‘peace’ which we’re supposed to be looking for, but we should not expect ‘peace’ to come to us when we whistle. We have to learn the new habit. We have to learn it because it is all too easy to lapse into the way many people behave. Christians are to stand out as distinctive, but when we do, and are mocked for it, we’re tempted to mock and criticize right back—and then we’re no longer distinctive, because we’re behaving just like everyone else! When Christians ‘give as good as they get’, slander with slander, they are conformed to the surrounding world, just as surely as if we went along with immorality or financial corruption.
Peter reminds us to be: like-minded, sympathetic, loving, tender-hearted and humble. That’s why we are given the holy spirit, to enable us to work at the new habits of heart and life.
Father help us to live out these habits as Peter identifies!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta