Chapter 3:8-14 (ESV) - Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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. For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
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.”
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed.
Question to consider: What are some ways we can repay someone’s evil with a blessing?
Social media seems to be our generation’s equivalent of Pandora’s box. The Greek mythology of Pandora was their explanation of how evil, sickness and death entered into the world. Although social media in itself isn’t evil, it acts as a megaphone for the 8th commandment allowing us to broadcast our thoughts around the world. It can either be used to build people up or speak evil and falsehoods against them. Unfortunately, the lies seem to spread around the earth at a much faster rate than truth. It pains me when Christians participate in this behavior. Instead of perpetuating the lies, we should be the ones spreading truth and encouragement.
Peter calls Christians to be better than those around us. Our conduct should be honorable to everyone from the highest form of government all the way down to our individual families and now to our neighbor. This starts with being united with each other in Christ and having love for our Christian brothers and sisters. This is based on the command given by Jesus in John 13:33-34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jesus gave this commandment after having washed his disciples’ feet. The disciples were already familiar with the law in how we treat our neighbor. God summed up the 2nd table of laws given to Moses with the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus elevates this command to love sacrificially, to treat our neighbors as better than ourselves. The Gentiles would see our good conduct if we would strive to treat each other with sympathy, a tender heart and in humility.
When someone says something evil against us or about us, we do not reciprocate. When someone does something evil against us, we do not retaliate. Instead, Peter calls us to bless those who do these things to us.
Oftentimes, if we treat others with kindness when they do evil to us, they will relent, and we may even gain a friend. However, if we continue to suffer at their hands, Peter reassures us that God sees our suffering and will ultimately bless us for it.
Let me encourage you brothers and sisters to be humble and kind, especially as we engage online. Instead of adding to the noise, let us be a calming voice that lifts others up and points them to Jesus.
God of all peace, help us to discern the times in which we live and be about the business of spreading your truth instead of the world’s lies, even when people revile us for it. We thank you that Jesus did not revile those who crucified him but instead took the curse we deserved and gave us his righteousness. It’s in His name we pray. Amen.