We move into a new section within the letter and Peter becomes really clear in addressing the problem of struggling because of who comes against you. Having telling us to be a good person in the previous verses he opens the new section with a rhetorical question. The answer is of course ‘no one’.
“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?” (v13)
However I know some of the most faithful and ‘good’ Christians who suffer through malicious gossip and from people who should know better who want to bring them down.
Peter gives instruction in how to respond when you are spoken against.
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3 v 13-17)
Here are 6 responses:
- I am blessed. Why? Perhaps it is simply the fact that we receive what Jesus Christ received. He was spoken against and so will we. We walk His walk.
- I will not be afraid. Why? Because to fear is only a choice equal to obedience being a choice too.
- I will fear Christ. Why? Because He is the Lord of your life not those who speak against you.
- I will be prepared with my answers. Why? Because courage in the midst of suffering needs to be able to also challenge that what is making you suffer.
- I will be gentle and respectful. Why? Because we are not called to fight flesh and blood. We choose a higher ground of vocabulary.
- I will have a clear conscience. Why? Because holding onto your integrity so that you are not also being malicious is the basis for your victory.
People will speak against you and it might be today that they do. You might be in the middle of this malicious season. Choose these 6 responses.