Scripture: 1 Peter 3:8-12
8Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do 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. 10For
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
11let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12For 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.”
All of you: a general word to all the congregation. Peter exhorts them to possess the following:
unity of mind
a tender heart
a humble mind
Peter exhorts them to avoid seeking revenge.
Peter appeals to the wisdom of a life that God blesses: a good life that avoids pursuing evil and diligently pursues doing good in response to a watchful and very present God.
Getting hurt, offended, frustrated in the context of the community we call church is highly likely. Revenge has many forms relationally, passive and active. It is more than just indifference. I wonder if a lot of “just disappearing” is sometimes a form of relational revenge. I wonder if the movement into “not caring” is a form of evil.
The Gospel presses me to follow Jesus into the life of a gathering of other followers of Jesus and learn “long-suffering” relationally. Peter is incredibly realistic here. He is suggesting that sometimes people in the church community do act badly relationally! And the challenge for those of us on the receiving end of it is to not act badly in return. He calls repaying evil for evil. When I’ve been hurt by a brother or sister in Christ, unity, sympathy, love, a tender heart, and a humble mind go right out the window. Unless, I look for Jesus the crucified extending His hands to each of us. Only then can I find the courage to bless with His truth and grace.
Heavenly Father, have mercy on us. May the wind of your Spirit blow away the chaff. May the warmth of your Word warm our hard hearts. May Jesus be glorified in our churches. AMEN.