In this section of 1 Peter 3, we are challenged with a scenario that opposes our western value of self-preservation. We are given guidelines for conduct in the face of persecution that seem humanly impossible. Peter suggests that instead of retaliation, we respond with blessing. Humility, peace, and love are elevated as the character traits that lead to our ultimate blessing. When our focus is on love and peace, most conflicts will be avoided altogether. But we can and will be persecuted for doing right; what then? By leaving retaliation and justice in the hands of God, one can position themselves to be covered, heard, and seen by God. It also preserves one’s reputation and gives a clear conscious, which is of greater value in the end than the momentary gratification of revenge. This all sounds great, but how does it play out in real life?
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sam Whittaker is our Mission Pastor. His role is to oversee all of SVCC’s missions and charity work, including all of our global Focus Country partnerships. He also serves on SVCC's teaching team and worship team. Sam is a member of the Board of Directors for Hope of the Nations and Aliento Cuba, as well as the Church Partnerships team at Foster the Bay. Sam has been a lifelong member of the SVCC family, and lives in Gilroy with his wife Christina and their daughter, Jubilee. He loves theology, nature, and guitar pedals.