Text – 1 Peter 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life
and see many happy days,
keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face
against those who do evil.”
Peter wrote to Christians who had been scattered to places that were foreign to them. Furthermore, they suffered some sort of antipathy or even persecution because of their loyalty to Jesus. So Peter wrote his letters to them to encourage them and to remind them of the commitment they had made to their Lord. This text is highly practical and necessary for the health and success of their faith community. It is primarily relational instruction he gives them. Things like being unified in thinking, sympathetic with each other, loving each other the way that brothers and sisters in a family do. remaining humble and blessing others rather than retaliating. He reminds them that this is what God wanted them to do.
Then a final exhortation with four parts.
- Do thinks that contribute to enjoying life
- Be a good steward of your tongue.
- Don’t be drawn to doing evil.
- And this. SEARCH FOR PEACE.
Peace, in this case, points toward one’s relationships with others. It is behaving with harmony, goodwill, and humility with the goal of peaceful relations with others. Modern-day examples of unpeaceful behavior includes: flipping off the driver behind you or beside you, being critical and confronting with others, reacting rather than thinking about how to get the best outcome, and refusal to be humble toward others.
Peace, Perfect Peace
by Edward H. Bickersteth, 1850
Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away:
In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and he is on the throne.
It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
and Jesus call to heaven’s perfect peace.
Dear Father, there are so many human distractions around us: animosities, failing, mistreatment, and indifference. We confess that we at times want to retaliate or to seek revenge in some way. Please help us to remember that the better way, the way of the cross, is to seek peace. To bring the wellbeing of the Other. To speak with grace and long-suffering. May your spirit speak to our spirit and Others be blessed by our presence. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.
Write down the name of someone whose peace you have not sought in the past. What would it look like if you were to make a high priority of blessing them and bringing the peace of Christ to them. Pick one small thing you can do to begin this and do it. Ask God to be present in your grace.