1 Peter 3:8-18
April 5What does it mean to suffer for doing good? Some of us are close companions with suffering. Sometimes our suffering is a result of obeying God’s call to do good – to bring light and peace to people in difficult places or situations. In this passage, Peter challenges us to consider how we respond in times of suffering. He offers encouragement and advice for how to live victoriously in the midst of vicious hostility, which the early Christians to whom he wrote were enduring.
Peter’s exhortations can be applied to situations we find ourselves in today, as we seek to represent Christ in a world full of enmity. As we carry out the good deeds to which we are called, we are reminded to have a loving, compassionate, humble attitude toward everyone. This passage challenges us to respond to insults with blessing instead of bitterness or retaliation, a concept that is counter-cultural and which requires deep humility. Still, the indwelling of Christ in our hearts compels us to pursue peace and unity. While none of us can truly transform or redeem others, we are called to be representations of the One who can. In the life of Christ, we see numerous examples of how He acted with compassion towards those whom society valued least, thus restoring their sense of worth and dignity and bringing them into relationship with God. Through the insult of a sinner’s death on a cross, we see the sacrifice He made and the suffering He endured to unify us with each other and reconcile us to the Father.
The season of Lent is a time to examine the attitudes of our heart in the midst of suffering. Are we cultivating unity and peace within and around us? Are we demonstrating a pure expression of God’s unfailing love to those with whom we come into contact, regardless of how we are treated? May we fix our hearts on Christ, who endured great suffering so that we might know God, and be filled, today and always.