Praying through the Psalms

Praying through the Psalms

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Do I Respond To Evil?

1 Peter 3:8-12

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.”

As Peter has addressed different groups such as slaves and men and women, he now addresses them as a community of faith. These instructions are to characterize their life together.

1. They are to be like minded. Notice this doesn't mean they think exactly alike on every matter, but they are of one mind in the essential truths of the faith. When we get caught in matters that are not critical to our Christian belief, we can easily get caught up in pride which leads to division. E.g. The color of the carpet, what kind of music is played.

2. They love one another with compassion and humility. This is putting the needs of others above ourselves. When others are going through difficult times, we are there for them to lend an ear, a hand and a prayer. The first and foremost place we learn how to love each other is in the local church God has called us to. When these behaviors don't match our life together, one wonders what is different about Christians from the world. Simply put, how we treat each other is the clearest indicator of our Christ-likeness.

3. Finally, Peter knew they would be persecuted by those in the community with evil and insults. The natural response would be to fight back with a similar attack. But Peter says how they respond is at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you!" And of course, Peter would have remembered on the night Jesus was hung on the cross he prayed, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."

Peter's words have relevance for us today. As we follow Peter's blueprint for a healthy church, he quotes the psalmist by saying, "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." The one thing we can be sure of is that as we follow Peter's directions, God will be with us in powerful ways and we never need to be afraid."

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