Have you ever read something in Scripture that made you raise an eyebrow and think, “what in the world did I just read?” In the verses we are going to look at this morning, Peter is going to show us how we can thrive in three specific relationships while we are suffering.
On the surface, this might seem disconnected from suffering. However it’s these relationships that often suffer when we go through difficult times. So Peter gives us valuable instructions so that we can thrive in our relationships, despite the suffering going on around us. When we follow these instructions our relationships actually become a gift of grace in our suffering, instead of making our suffering worse.
I started with the question I did because these verses are often misunderstood. These are verses that have turned people off from Christianity. These verses have been taken out of context and harm has been done with them. Now I want to be clear, that is not the fault of Scripture. That is the fault of broken people perpetuating their brokenness and harming others in the process.
We cannot allow what people have wrongly done with the Bible to cause us to avoid or disobey what the Bible actually says.Tweet
So this morning we are going to take our time and carefully work through these passages. If this sermon is too long for your taste, take this as an opportunity to practice suffering well. The theme we are going to see emerge from how we work through these type of relationships is that…
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 2:18-20.
Stand with me if you are physically able as we read our text this morning. We are working through our series Thriving In Exile discovering how the Christian identity helps us to suffer well.
If you are a guest with us this morning, thank you so much for coming! I would like to invite you to scan the QR code on the chair in front of you with your smartphone and fill out the online Connection Card. You can also find notes for this morning’s sermon there as well.
1 Peter 2:18-20.
Now as we start, I want to acknowledge the difficulty of this passage given our countries history as well as the current climate we find ourselves in. Given the racial tension our country is enduring a passage like this feels like salt on a wound to say the very least.
So important that we have historical context for what we are reading. It is very easy to superimpose our own historical context onto this passage and misinterpret what is being said.
As Peter continues tackling the idea of Christian submission, the fact that he addresses slaves is tough. For us in the western part of the world we read this verse and we instantly think of the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the European colonies and the American Slave Trade in the United States.
This slavery was race-based, oppressive, lifelong, multi-generational, and fueled by kidnapping. It was a horror which had cruel repercussions that have lasted to this day. The brutal inhumanity of that sinful system was compounded by fact that it was bound to deep-rooted racism. The Bible does condemn this type of slavery.
1 Timothy 1:9-10 We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for slave traders, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching…
The word slave-trader is a word used to describe those who would take a person captive in order to sell him or her into slavery. This is what happened in our country and the Bible speaks against it. It even puts it on the same list as murderers. Under the Old-Testament law kidnapping and selling people was given the death penalty.
Now unfortunately, many people have used this passage in 1 Peter to sinfully justify what we think of when we think of slavery. But to think Peter is supporting slavery is an inhumane misunderstanding of these verses. Slavery in the Roman Empire was different. It wasn’t good, but it was different. In the ancient Roman world there were many types of “slaveries or servants.”
There is solid evidence that much of slavery was very harsh and brutal for prisoners of war and criminals. But there is also plenty of evidence that many lived normal lives and were paid the going wage, they just were not allowed to quit or change employers for a set period of time in order to pay off a debt. It’s the people in this category that Peter is referring to. A person could become a servant or slave for a set period of time in order to work off debts, because there was no such thing as bankruptcy in ancient times. Often the result was an indentured servanthood for a set amount of years until the debts were paid. Slaves all had the ability to earn or purchase their freedom.
To our surprise, slaves could own slaves, and many were doctors, professors, administrators, and civil servants. In this period of time Peter is writing, slavery was an awful, but accepted institution in all cultures and societies of the world and always had been.
Peter takes the reality of an unrighteous institution in the Roman world and tells believers how to honor God within it. And as he does, he along with other Scripture sows the seeds that would lead to their freedom. These passages do not keep us from addressing unjust systems or cruel treatment. We see that taking place throughout Scripture as well.
Only within Christianity did the idea arise that slavery was an abominable institution that needed to be abolished. Why? Largely because of the implications of the gospel. When you read the New Testament book of Philemon, Paul seems determined to subvert slavery. Most scholars believe that the Colossians church met in the home of a man named Philemon. In fact the book of Philemon was addressed to the man Philemon AND the church that met in his home. Philemon had several slaves in his household.
Imagine the surprise in the Colossian church as the books of Colossians and Philemon were read out loud and Paul says Onesimus, a Christian slave, is his beloved brother in the Lord and a fellow man. He says don’t view him as a slave, but as your brother.”
Then Paul begins to directly address the slaves and says that they are serving God, not man. Even in this passage, Peter says to honor everyone as an equal son or daughter of God. This ultimately lead to the undermining of the entire system. Paul regularly told Christian slave owners that their slaves were equal to them in the sight of God and had to be treated as brothers.
In Galatians 3:26-29, he writes that in Christ there is no slave or free but all are equal. As this belief began to set in among Christians, it undermined and weakened the institution of slavery among Christians very quickly, until it was eventually discarded. Later, the institution of race-based, kidnapping-fueled slavery in Europe and America was so out of accord with biblical principles that Christians like Wilbur Wilberforce and Fredrick Douglass led the fight to have slavery abolished.
Now, sadly many professing “Christians” were also a part of it, but it was also Christians who lead the fight against it. This is why it’s important for Christians today to study these passages out. Many critics of Christianity simply assume that the Bible wrongly endorsed slavery and that therefore it may be wrong about other things it teaches. Biblical theology destroyed the coercive heart of the institution of slavery within the Christian community and led Christians to abolish the inevitably oppression-prone institution itself.
So how does this passage then apply to us? The closest relationship we have in our culture would be the workplace.
Which leads us to our first point..
NAVIGATING A DIFFICULT WORK ENVIRONMENT
– 1 Peter 2:18-25 –
What Peter is doing in these verses is he is helping these believers navigate an unrighteous institution in the Roman world and how to honor God from within it. He initially addresses those who have been slaves in verse 18, but then in verse 19 he broadens his audience by addressing “someone enduring grief.” Now to some extent if you have a boss, this passage is very applicable.
What do you do when you boss is unfair or cruel?
What Peter challenges us with is to be submissive and do what is good.
“True grace is demonstrated to the world when you are treated unjustly but respond honorably and good.”Tweet
We pursue healthy relationships because of how Christ treats us not because of how others treat us.
When we refuse to react to suffering in sinful ways, it makes us more like Jesus and demonstrates our confidence in him. Peter tells us that as we are aware of God, we can endure the grief that comes from unjust suffering. And as we are mindful of God we will also honor and respect those who hold positions over us, even if they are not good.
Now, Peter is also clear that we are talking about UNJUST suffering. If you are not doing a good job at your place of work and you get in trouble, you can’t claim your are suffering like Jesus. But if you are doing good work and you constantly get treated poorly as a result, then this passage is definitely a help.
Jesus As Our Example
– Verses 21-23 –
One of the things that Peter repeatedly addresses is how Christians should understand and respond to suffering. He is telling us that we are called to suffer because Christ has also suffered for us, giving us an example so we may follow in his steps. Jesus is the perfect example of someone who endured suffering unjustly. Instead of returning evil for evil Peter challenges us to trust God who will make every wrong right.
Jesus As Our Substitute
– Verses 24-25 –
But Jesus’s suffering was more than just an example, he is our substitute. He bore our sins and purchased our redemption and Peter reminds that because of this we can live for righteousness. The reason who can rightly respond when you are treated badly is because you have the righteousness of God flowing through you! That same righteousness that enabled Jesus to endure unjust suffering has given you the ability to do the same thing.
As Peter quotes Isaiah he reminds us of our past and now our current standing with God. Jesus has given us the ability to live in a way that pleases God and honors him.
And because of what Jesus has done for us we can pursue healthy relationships regardless of how others treat us.
God will not ask us to suffer anything that his Son was not willing to undergo himself. The cross is his demonstration of this. Any unjust suffering we face is only temporary. We live with the promise that God will make every wrong right.
That is how a believer navigates unjust suffering or a difficult workplace as a stranger and exile.
As difficult as this may be, it’s important to remember that following Christ often means sacrificing comfort. We are thankful that Christ bore our cross for us, but often times we don’t want to deal with hardships and when we do, our knee jerk reaction is often to respond the opposite of what Peter is calling us too. But when we trust God, we can demonstrate grace in our suffering and doing so demonstrates that our faith is real.
As we start chapter three Peter is going to help us navigate two more types of relationships as strangers and exiles.
So we have seen how we can Navigate a Difficult Work Environment…
THRIVING IN OUR MARRIAGES
– 1 Peter 3:1-7 –
As Peter continues to show us how we can thrive in our relationships, he begins speaking to married couples. This is another one of those passages that many people struggle with. Look at verse 3:1.
“Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands?????”
Come on this is 2021!
Sometimes men wrongly think that submitting is just a woman’s issue. But all throughout Scripture Christian men and women are told that our lives are to be marked by submission. It’s an extremely important part of the Christian’s life one that Peter applies to ALL Christians.
Unfortunately, this is one of those passages that has been wrongfully used by men to make themselves feel superior to, and boss their wives around and that is 100% wrong and actually the opposite of what Peter is trying to accomplish.
Look at verse 7 of chapter 3.
1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.
Now, I know when we read this verse our first question is usually, “What do you mean the weaker partner?”
Right from the very beginning of Scripture we see an equality between men and women. Both are created equally in the image of God. Women are not second rate people, they are not beneath, or less than men. This is exactly the point Peter is making when he says women are co-heirs of the grace of life.
But here is the problem. Sin has grossly distorted and ignored this truth and as a result, men have objectified women throughout history. In the Roman society, when this was written, women were treated as second rate people. Their testimonies were not permissible in court. Wives were often treated as property.
So when Peter comes along and says Husbands, in the same way,
- In the same meek way…
- In the same submissive way…
- In the same respectful and honoring way…
Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, I believe he is referring to their position in society. “Because they are in a weaker position in society you need to honor them. You need to seek to understand them. You need to treat them as equals.”
The world devalued women, but Christianity came along and affirmed women and said that they are equals with men in God’s eyes. So Christianity was very counter-cultural in the way it treated women and this passage demonstrates that.
Now with that foundation laid, let’s back up to verse one of chapter three and look at the instruction he gives wives, then husbands.
1 Peter 3:1-2 In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives.
There are a few things to keep in mind as we talk about submission in marriage.
- First of all, even though he is telling wives to submit, God wants it to be voluntary, not coerced. Voluntary on the wife’s part, not coercive on the husbands. Just like in chapter 2 we are all told to submit as free people. It’s the same idea.
- Second, it has nothing to do with value or worth we’ve established that men and women are equal!
- Third, submission is NOT passivity. It doesn’t mean that wives are supposed to be doormats.
- Fourth, the specific context is within the marriage relationship. Peter does not call women to submit to men.
Submission is ultimately about trusting God.
The husband is supposed to lead his family in love toward Christ with love and service and the wife supports him doing that with her gifts and abilities. Submission has nothing to do with limiting her abilities or gifts. In fact, it should elevate them! If you read Proverbs 31, a godly wife is often very active outside of the home and is a leader in many ways.
A wife is never obligated to do something that would be contrary towards God’s Word. It says in Ephesians that her submission is to be “as to the Lord.” What submission means is the wife willingly yields to her husband as they pursue Christ. In God’s design the husband will seek his wife’s perspective and hear and value his wife’s thoughts. God wants the marriage relationship to a team working towards the mission of God, not a competing battlefield.
So what if a wife’s perspective isn’t heard and valued?
We pursue healthy relationships because of how Christ treats us not because of how others treat us.
Peter goes on to say that wives can even win over their disobedient husbands without even saying anything by the way they respect the husband. Just like Christians can win unbelievers over by they way they live as strangers and exiles, Peter applies that same idea to wives. You can win over your disobedient husband to the cause of Christ by the way you respect him. Your life will be a testimony to the worthiness of following Jesus.
Wives, you can be respectful to your husband, even when they don’t deserve it, because you don’t need your husband to be worthy of your respect. Christ is worthy of your respect. Your respect is ultimately towards God. Keep your eyes on the Lord, not your husband. Your husband does not have ultimate authority in your home, God does. And when your eyes are fixed on God you will never be disappointed and be able to freely respect your husband.
Submission is more about a heart posture that “esteems others better than themselves” than it is about having to do everything your husband tells you to do. You will notice this passage doesn’t actually tell husbands to tell their wives to do. God did not give husbands the authority to be the boss of their wife.
To be clear, this does not apply to submitting to an abusive husband. The most loving thing a wife can do with an abusive husband is report him and seek safety. This does not mean you let your husband walk all over you and treat you like you are less than. That is not God’s design.
This passage also has nothing to do with what husbands and wives stereotypically do in a relationship. This has nothing to do with who does what chores in the house, who makes more money than who, who makes who sandwiches, who cleans up the clothes…
Guys, let me help you for a minute. Make your own stupid sandwich. Pick up your own underwear. Let what God’s Word actually says inform your marriage relationship, not 1950’s Leave It To Beaver.
I was recently at a wedding and I thought the Bride’s vows did a great job of reflecting this. She said…
- I promise not to focus on making you happy, but rather on encouraging you to find your happiness in Christ.
- I promise not to blindly follow you through life, but rather to stand beside you, hold your hand, and walk through it together.
- I promise not to become what you want as a wife, but rather to strive every day to be exactly what Christ wants you to have as a wife.
- I promise not to depend on you solely for my happiness, health, and strength, but rather to depend and lean on Christ with you for those things.
- I promise not to only love you with my whole existence and strength, because that will never be enough, but I promise to learn every day to love you through Christ’s example and with His help.
- I promise to not only love you as you currently are (which I do), but also, to encourage and pray for you to continue to become exactly who you are supposed to be through Christ.
- And I, promise you, that no matter what happens, through all the great times as well as the tough ones, the sunny days and the rainy ones, the ones where it’s easy to be married and the ones where it’s not, I promise to always be there when you need your best friend.
Submission is a wife following her husband’s lead to support their pursuit of Christ. Now in verse 3-6 Peter sounds a bit old fashioned. The admonition he gives wives is not a prohibition from getting dressed up as much as it is freedom from finding your worth and beauty from those things.
Obviously there is nothing wrong with outward beauty – God designed it. But Peter is showing that its the inward beauty of holiness and a gentle and quiet spirit is really of great worth. Women are constantly bombarded with worldly ideals relating to beauty and identity and Peter is actually freeing them from all that by saying that is not where true beauty is ultimately found. God looks at your heart. One day everything the world considers outward beauty will fade away and be old and wrinkly, but inward holiness never will never fade away.
There is a false and really disgusting idea that I’ve seen recirculating in some “Christian” circles that says a Christian wife has to look a certain way, or act a certain way, or dress a certain way so her husband will stay faithful. Let me be really clear, that is garbage.
In fact, Peter is freeing women from being burdened by any worldly idea of of beauty. The idea that a husband’s purity depends on the appearance of his wife is out of step with the gospel and the fruit of the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
– Verse 3:7 –
Christian husbands are called to have the same heart as Jesus – gentle and lowly.
We are to be driven by what is good for our spouse; selfless love, honor and grace.
Maybe you’ve been thinking, doesn’t Ephesians say the husband is the head of the wife? Yes, and it defines that leadership by loving and sacrificial service in her pursuit of holiness. Throughout the New Testament we are told that biblical leadership is service.
Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As husbands, our job is not to lord over our wives. Our job is to serve our wives. And we need to pursue her and seek to understand her so that we can know how to best love and serve her. Husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way. This means we need to work at getting to know them throughout the course of our lives.
“Always be a student of your wife.”Tweet
It’s amazing how men can rattle of stats about sports but are often clueless when it comes to their wives.
Part of seeking to understand means we need to listen! And listen to understand, not always respond. It means we ask lots of questions so that we can better understand because we value her thoughts and burdens. We husbands should be consistently laying down our lives for our wives. Sacrificing our wants for their wants, our desires for their desires.
Some guys try to be super macho and say “I’d take a bullet for my wife.” Great. But let’s be real, you’ll probably never have to do that. Why don’t you do the dishes? Why don’t you spend some time praying for and over your wife? When was the last time you gave something up for her?
Ephesians 5 tells us to wash our wives in the water of the Word. This means we lead our wives to Jesus. We model what a disciple of Jesus looks and we work at pointing our wives to Christ. The number one person Jesus has given me to disciple is Sarah Minerva.
Peter tells us that we are to show them honor as coheirs of grace so that our prayers will not be hindered. What Peter is saying should put the fear of God in us as husbands a little bit. I feel like once I had daughters, this verse began taking on new meaning for me. There is something special about a dad’s relationship with his daughter.
How many dads here have a daughter? When one of my daughters runs up and gives me a big hug or tells me I’m the best, my heart just melts. We have this bug fur blanket at home that I will use sometimes and my 3 year old daughter always tells me “Daddy, you look like a king!”
If anyone would ever do anything to hurt one of my little girls we would have a BIG problem. Imagine some jerk treated one of my daughter awfully, then turned around and asked me for money. How do you think I would respond?
What Peter is telling us is “Your wife is God’s daughter.” Honor her as such so your prayers won’t be hindered. If I as a husband refuse to align myself under God’s agenda for my home and do not honor and love and serve my wife, his daughter, the way he calls me to, I should not expect God to answer my prayers.
Often times that looks like the Holy Spirit almost blocking my prayers and making me very aware I need to go make things right with my wife. I go to pray and just get overwhelmed with the sense that I need to go talk to Sarah. Almost like God is saying “Don’t talk to me, go talk to her.”
And because I have the sacrificial, serving, humble spirit of Jesus inside of me, I can sacrificially and humbly, serve my wife with joy and gladness. Really marriage is like a dance, we each have our steps to take. And when we take the steps God has designed, marriage is a beautiful dance.
And it becomes a tremendous gift of grace in our suffering.
After Sarah and I got married we did marriage counseling for about two years. One of the first things our counselors did was have us take personality tests. When they gave us our results our counselors told us, “Usually people with as opposite of personalities as you guys should not get married.”
This was about a month after we got married.
But here is what we are learning, as we follow God’s plan, marriage becomes an amazing gift of grace. With everything we have walked through over the course of our marriage…
- Her working through trauma and abuse from her past
- Me working through all the hurt and insecurities that stem from my dad taking his life
- The last 4 months since the miscarriage
It’s often been messy, but I can’t imagine walking through it with anyone other than my Sarah.
Our marriage hasn’t always been easy. We have had more than our fair share of fights. We have gone to a lot of counseling. But we are learning that following God’s plan is always worth it and he is using it as a means of his grace in our lives.
You can thrive in your marriage, even when you are walking through suffering.
In the final verses of our test this morning Peter shows us God’s design for one more relationship.
We have navigated difficult work environments…
We have learned to thrive in our marriage…
Now Peter will show us…
Growing In Our Church Relationships
– 1 Peter 3:8-12 –
The remaining five verses Peter outlines for us how are to live in relationship with each other in our church family. Peter is again reiterating the way God’s Kingdom is supposed to work. Because we don’t belong to this world, the way we live should look a lot different. He gives us several goals that we grow towards as we seek to be in relationship with those in our church. The first goal that Peter gives us is to be like-minded.
We Grow Together in Unity
With all the different preferences, likes, and thoughts, and even convictions on how things should be done in the world and church how are we supposed to be like-minded? By constantly reminding ourselves of the most important thing we have in common. The grace of Jesus. The same grace that saved you, saved me. We have the same Lord. We serve the same God. We have the same faith.
Humans constantly divide into tribes and camps, but the amazing thing about our new nature is all the natural divisions become secondary and the Holy Spirit gives us unity that centers around the person of Jesus and our faith in him!
Peter says down in verse 11 to seek peace and pursue it.
Remember, we are exiles. We are aliens in this world. Every small group, every ministry team, every local church is a family of exiles who live for heaven’s King.
If you and I were locked in a jail cell together for being a Christian, a lot of our difference would disappear. That is the mindset that Peter is calling us towards.
Peter says this is what I want you to rally around.
“The biggest common denominator among all Christians is Jesus.”Tweet
The biggest common denominator in your life with other believers is Jesus. And that should be such a big common denominator that all other natural affinities pail in comparison. The first goal that Peter is calling us to grow towards is to be like-minded. We grow together in unity.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic…
The next goal is…
We Grow Together in Sympathy
The greek word here means “suffering or feeling the like with another.”
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
It means I am willing to enter into your emotions and feel what you feel. Your pain is my pain. Your emotions is are my emotions. Your joy is my joy. Your grief is my grief. It also means we should celebrate each others successes. Christians should throw the best parties! Celebrate wins in life. Celebrate birthdays. Celebrate babies being born. Celebrate graduations. Celebrate holidays.
Yes, be sympathetic and feel what people feel with people when life is difficult, that is what this verse means, but let’s not forget we have positive feelings too! Let’s enter into other people’s joy as well as their pain.
Peter is calling us to be…
Like-Minded… We grow together in our unity.
Sympathetic… We grow together in our sympathy
Next he says “love one another”
This type of love in the original language is talking about “brotherly love.” In a broader sense we love each other like we love our brothers and sisters. We become family.
We Grow Together As Family
Romans 12:10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor.
This type of love is the affection of a family that comes with long familiarity and deep bonds. Of course you can have squabbles and get mad with each other.
Sometimes my kids get on each others nerves. But when one of them has to go to the Doctor for a check up, it’s amazing how they all jump to each other’s aid. They all cheer each other on “It’s okay, you can be brave. I’ll help you!”
When difficulties come the family affection shows a powerful side. This is what we have been called to grow in. When a family member get a life-threatening sickness or even die, and there will be a kind of tears that do not come for others. People instantly jump to the rescue.
This is what we are working towards for each other in the church because the church is our eternal family.
“We can love one another deeply once we recognize that we don’t have to like someone to love them well. Love is often associated with emotion, but it starts with a decision to compassionately and righteously seek the well-being of others. Just like the small gauge on a boiler indicates how full the vessel is, our love for one another indicates how full our hearts are with the love of Jesus.” – Tony Evans
Next he calls us to be compassionate
We Grow Together In Charity
The biblical word here doesn’t quite translate into our Western thinking. It literally means “having strong bowels.” Typically having strong bowels is not something you talk about in a church.
The idea is you love deeply from inside of you. It is a tenderness. It is compassion. It means you move towards those who are hurting. It’s similar to being sympathetic in that you are sensitive to others emotions and enter into them, but in being compassionate you are willing to put your own needs on hold while you sit and linger with another person’s emotions. Compassion is sympathy in action. A compassionate person is looking to meet the needs of other.
“Compassion seeks out the hurting and sacrifices to meet their needs.“Tweet
Compassion doesn’t just idly sit by and wait for a need to present itself. It seeks out those that are hurting. And when someone in our group is sharing a need or a struggle, we want to grow in thinking and praying “God how can you use me to help meet this need?”
Acts 2:44-45 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need.
They willingly sacrificed to help meet the needs of their fellow believers. When we focus on moving towards the needs of others we will always have people around us who can move towards our needs. Because we are all strangers and exiles, because we do not belong here and the world is becoming more and more hostile to what we believe we lookout for each other! And as we look out for each other, the world gets a glimpse of the love of Jesus put on display.
So who are you actively demonstrating compassion towards? Who are you sacrificing for?
We Grow Together In Humility
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.
Humility means we think of others more than ourselves. It means we believe the best about each other. Because I consider you more important than me I should be slow to speak and quick to listen. It means we dream of how we might do our brothers and sisters good. We hold our rights loosely. And we never think anyone is too low for us to love, serve, and honor.
It is often said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. I would also add, in light of Philippians 2:3, it means we think of ourselves less so we can think of others more. It means we go low to lift others up. Are we believing the best about others? Are we lifting others up?
Lastly we see in verses 10-11
We Grow Together In Upholding Good
In these last few verses Peter is reminding us that if we desire to see good, if we want to “love life and to see good days” we will respond to suffering in a way that reflects our new life in Christ. We will “turn away from evil and do what is good. We will seek peace and pursue it because God’s eyes are on us and his ears are open to us.”
In every situation we face, whether it’s with our government, a bad boss, in our marriages, in our church, in every situation we are to pursue peace with other people. This becomes an especially powerful testimony when we pursue peace and seek good to those who are hurting us. And Peter gives us the encouragement that God’s eyes see us when we live that way and his ears are open to us when we live that way. When we seek to be a blessing to others, even in our suffering, God promises we will be blessed.
“As you become a blessing to others, you set yourself up to be blessed.” – Tony Evans
1 Peter 3:9 not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.
When we are suffering and yet we seek to live holy in the way that Peter outlines for us, it actually becomes a means of God’s grace in our lives.
Honoring God in our relationships displays our relationship with Jesus.
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