Tuesday, May 23, 2017
1Pet. 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For
“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
11 let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
The words from I Peter are powerful and profound. God’s people are called to unity and love. As a community of believers they are to find ways in which they can get along with one another. Evil will remain, but should not rule the day, nor become the barometer for our response. The follower of Christ does not repay evil with evil, nor abuse with abuse. Instead, the Christ-follower is to be a person of peace, repaying evil with a blessing. Evil must not win the day, but the community of faith is to “seek peace and pursue it.” The Lord sees them and hears their prayers.
Day after day it seems that we awaken to the news of war or terrorism in this world. Or, we awaken to another shooting of someone in our own city! It all seems to senseless and the hate and evil that seems to be espoused leaves us dazed.
We are living in a terribly divided world. It seems that discrimination and abuse of power have left gaping holes in the very fabric of society. We must ask ourselves how we will respond to what is happening in our world. The more we create barriers, the more we will not understand, nor have sympathy for one another. There is a reason that the followers of Christ were told not to repay evil with evil, nor abuse with abuse. What would it mean for God’s people to repay with blessing in the midst of great turmoil?
My son-in-law has told me this morning that the counter-narrative in Manchester, England following last-night’s terror attack is more moving than the blast! He says, “an outpouring of generosity and love has seemed to counter the attack.” Isn’t that what this scripture is telling us?
So, what if we applied this to domestic struggles as well, not just an act of terrorism? We have incidents which divide communities, cities and states. We have pitted people groups, one against the other. What if our counter-attack were an outpouring of blessing? We are called to “seek peace and pursue it.” We are also reminded that it is the “face of the Lord” that is “against those who do evil.” In other words, we have our responsibility, and the Lord will take care of evil.
The Lord’s eyes are upon the righteous and our prayers are heard. May we gather into prayer this day and pray for peace, on the larger scale, but also in our communities, and even in our homes. We seek the Lord’s peace today as the kingdom breaks into the chaos of our world.
Lord, with broken hearts we come before you, and seek your peace. Amen.