What is your first impulse when you are wronged by either deed or word? I remember taking a series of pictures of my eight-month old firstborn playing with her cousin. The object of their shared affection was a simple plastic spoon. It wasn’t long before sharing turned into a “mine” tug-of-war. The ultimate victor smiling and satisfied, the loser in floods of offended tears. Had she been a few months older and more physically capable, payback would be in order. We are natural-born retaliators. Christians, however, are called to exhibit a new nature. In 1 Peter 2:9-12 Christians are called a people of God’s own possession, set apart to proclaim his excellencies, and conducting ourselves honourably such that they see our good deeds and glorify God.
This good conduct extends to our attitudes and actions with respect to civic authority (2:13), masters (2:18), husbands (3:1), and wives (3:7) – even when they are unjust. Peter gives a series of specific instructions to particular people, but then summarizes with a general exhortation to all: “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. (3:9)”
So, again I ask, what is your response to wrongdoing? As Christians, Peter tells us that not only are we to not repay wrongdoing with wrongdoing, we actually go much further – we bless! To have any hope to follow this command we need a fundamental change that goes to the very core of our being. As Christians, that core change is found in Christ. Peter explains his nature earlier: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (2:23)” And to this we are likewise called: to “do good” even in the face of suffering. (2:20,21)
This “blessing” we offer in the face of wrongdoing are sincere words and actions that come from a changed heart and act as a unique witness to our world that does not share our Christian hope of a new world to come. With chaos and fear so prevalent during this pandemic, our new life, new nature, and new hope offer a unique perspective to a weary world. All of the sources of hope and security this life offers outside of Christ we trust in vain. To help cultivate a heart that yields blessings rather than cursings consider meditating thankfully on a promise such as this one:
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock (Is 26:3,4)”
Missional Prayer: Lord, help me to keep my eyes upon you such that you strengthen me to be a blessing this week to all.