READ: 1Peter 3
BACKGROUND: Peter encourages us to be humble and to put the needs of others above our own.
3 – It’s easy to get caught up in externals and the way we appear on the outside, but God cares about the heart.
7 – Weaker physically. Peter implores men to treat women as equals in Christ. This seems like a “no duh” statement to us, but it was counter-cultural at the time.
10-12 – From Psalm 34:12-16
15 – Sanctify Christ in your hearts means set Jesus apart as your only master.
21 – It isn’t the act baptism that saves, but the faith which it symbolizes.
THINK: I think that my brother James really needs to read 1Peter 3 and take it to heart. Last weekend as we were at the church getting dressed for my little sister’s wedding I noticed that the vests and shirts – which had recently been dry-cleaned and ironed – were on those super-thin wire hangers. And after I put on my vest I noticed that James had his back turned to me and was looking the other way. So naturally I grabbed one of the wire hangers, got a running start, and whipped him in the back of the leg with it as hard as I could it. He fell over screaming. I fell over laughing. But what he did next is the part that really concerns me, the reason that I think he needs to read this passage: He proceeded to get a running start and hit me in the leg with a wire hanger. This might seem like a pretty normal response, but Peter tells us, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” So the moral of this story is that James is a sinner. 🙂
I use that story as a tongue-in-cheek example because my brother and I were just having fun and we get along incredibly well, but I challenge you to think about the real implications of choosing not to repay evil with evil. All of us have been hurt. Lied to. Cheated. Lied about. Insulted. Every single one of us can remember a time when someone wronged us and did so maliciously. And our natural response is to do two things: 1. Defend ourselves, & 2. Get revenge. But God calls us, instead, to be sympathetic, loving, and humble and to repay the evil by blessing the person who hurt us. This requires an incredible amount of humility and trust in God – to put aside our own pride and our own rights in order to show the incredible love of God to someone else. But we can do it! How? Because it’s exactly what Jesus did for us. Though we sinned and rejected him and turned our backs on him, he endured suffering on our behalf out of an unimaginably huge and deep love. We will suffer in this world. People will reject and make fun of us for our faith. But in those moments we have a unique opportunity to be more like Jesus than James. We have a change to demonstrate God’s love in a compelling way that our world doesn’t understand – by repaying evil with blessing.
ASK: What is my natural reaction when somebody hurts or wrongs me? How would people around me react if the next time somebody wronged me I treated them with love, compassion, and humility?
PRAY: Ask God to give you the strength to be like Jesus, to humble yourself enough to show God’s love to the world even when they don’t deserve it. Turn your pride over to God, and ask him to help you trust him completely with your life.