Today’s Readings: 1 Peter 3:8-22, Proverbs 19
There is a tonne to think about and meditate on in our two passages this morning. However I would like to focus on just 2 verses today – 1 Peter 3:8,9
We are called.
There are many references in the New Testament to the calling given to those who follow Jesus. Many of these “callings” are wonderfully good news! We are called to belong to Jesus Christ (Rom 1:6), Called to be His Holy people (1 Cor 1:2 ) Called “children of the living God” (Rom 9:26). Called to be free (Gal 5:13).
However, here in 1 Peter 3 (and 2) we are told we are called to something else entirely – we are called to repay evil for good.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 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. (1 Peter 3:8,9)
This is tough!
Peter is teaching that when we are insulted we should bless. When someone lies about us we should bless. When we are deeply hurt we should bless. We should even bless those who don’t like us.
Peter’s teaching is not new. Jesus also “called us” to repay good for evil. In Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus teaches that we should not “take an eye for an eye” rather we should love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us! – we should repay blessing for evil.
This is radical. Our natural inclination is to strike back – to seek retribution and justice – to be vindicated – when we are attacked or hurt or insulted. I find myself wanting to do this all the time – in my relationships at home, at work – I want to have the last word when I have been attacked. Yet, Jesus tells us to bless those who have wronged us and not to hit back.
The good news is that Jesus knows how to do it!
In the gospels we see Jesus mercy and blessing poured on those who dislike and reject him over and over again. Perhaps the best example is the picture of Jesus hanging on the cross asking God to forgive those who have hammered the nails through his wrists
Jesus even repays us with blessing for our evil. We lived in rebellion to Jesus, living as his enemy, and we continue to sin everyday of our lives. And yet Jesus repays our evil with his blessing by dying on the cross to purchase our salvation and bring us into daily relationship with our magnificent gracious God.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18)
Jesus provision and the promise!
While it is impossible for us to repay evil for good in our own strength, is it encouraging to know that the spirit of Jesus is living within us transforming us to be more like him, so that we too will grow to be ever more merciful and be able to repay blessing for evil as he did.
This calling comes with a promise. 1 Peter 3:9 teaches that if we fulfil our calling to bless others, we ourselves will inherit a blessing from God.
Let’s pray today that Jesus would change us and teach us how to love like he loves – so that we might fulfil our calling to repay evil with blessing, and inherit the rich blessing he has promised