Living in Harmony
God–Father, Son, and Spirit–abide with me throughout today.
Read 1 Peter 3:8-22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I need a life overflowing with grace poured out from the One who gave everything, that I might show the power of love to a broken world.
Peter now turns from specific groups of people to all of his readers, urging them to work at their relationships. He stresses several qualities essential for fellowship between believers–sympathy, compassion, humility, peace and a careful guard on the tongue–qualities advised today in many counseling manuals. Peter advocates relational maturity: readiness to hear the other person, no manipulative gossip and no angry, defensive responses to criticism or insults. A gentle answer does defuse a situation (Prov. 15:1,4), and people who are able to absorb the outbursts of others and patiently help them back to equanimity are vital in any community. They are also rare!
In relationships with people outside the faith, we have to be ready, whenever asked, to defend the faith verbally. But more important than having the right answers is having the right attitude. Respect for opponents is vital. I remember as a Christian postgraduate student debating with a hostile philosophy lecturer. His points were weak, so I easily dismissed them–and humiliated him. I won the argument, but lost the battle. Rather than drawing him to Christ’s love, my insensitivity and disrespect wounded and distanced him further. It was a long way from Christ’s precedent of loving people, even dying for them, to bring them to God.
Christ’s death focuses our relationships, yet death does not have the last word. Our salvation culminates in Christ’s resurrection and glorification, anticipated in two unusual references here: one to Christ preaching to the dead (as in The Apostles’ Creed: “he descended into hell”), the second to the flood and baptism. When our hearts acknowledge Christ as Lord, we are more able to allow his resurrection power to penetrate our relationships and deepen our love for other people.
How is it possible to live a life as outlined in verses 8-12?
Lord, even in difficulties, deepen my ability to witness clearly and fearlessly to Your truth, and expand my love and sensitivity towards other people.