Who wouldn’t want to inherit a blessing? Read 1st Peter 3:8-12 and see what I mean.
The mark of the Christian life and our blessing shows in our relationships with our husband, our children, neighbors, those in the church, and our those who just don’t like us.
1st Peter 3:8-9
Blessing—a Healthy Christian Community
The Christian character is on display. We are called to a higher standard — a virtuous life “with God”. Virtues such as sympathy, love, compassion, and humility build and sustain the community and so, eventually, we’re blessed.
The Lord works carefully in the believer’s soul to transform character. like-mindedness produces cohesion. Sympathy shows your caring heart, and selfishness does not coexist with it. Be tenderhearted and humble, and you see that the way you treat people reflects on you.
Do whatever you can to live a life of virtue, leaving no place for evil or insult. Guard your speech, turn from evil, do what is good, and zealously seek peace.
Love of God and loving of one another go hand in hand.
But, don’t expect everyone to understand or care about such virtues, especially those outside your church community. The dominant society and culture may be suspicious or even hostile to the Christian faith. You may become a victim to undeserving insults or evil.
Stand your ground with sympathy, still your heart with compassion, and love even those who insult you. Evil for evil is a natural reaction, but you are not of this world. Christians are given strength in character to refrain from insulting those who insult. In turn, the Holy Spirit helps them respond with care and graciousness, even praying for their enemies.
Vulnerable in a hostile society.
Christ was a good example. Did He not pray for His enemies while dying on the cross? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In Harriet Beecher Stow’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it is based on a truth. She interviewed many slaves who ran north for their freedom. She met Christian slaves who reflected the “with God” life. The response of Uncle Tom to his slave-driver, Legree, speaks of Uncle Tom’s faith and character.
It’s true, we may never have to go through the sorrow, heartache, and humiliation of slavery, but we can gain the same strength—the same confidence in life and death. Evil and insult are only inconveniences on the way to our heavenly home. We are foreigners and exiles. Our home is heavenly. The Lord prepares us for every storm, every word of slander, every temptation to retaliate, and our souls are blessed because He loves us.
Come what may, return to trust the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul.
Relationship with the Lord Matters
Because 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.1 Peter 3:12
At first glance, we would assume that this passage is talking about good versus evil. But no, look carefully, and you will see the blessing of God’s favor versus the curse of those who do evil.
I cannot even imagine what life would be like if the Lord set his face against me. It would, in my heart, be a curse.
Those without God’s favor are evil. The LORD refuses to even look at them. He is against them. They will not see good days. Sadly, they live under the shadow of deceit.
You will know them, not by the blood on their hands, but by the absence of peace and doing what is good. The Hamas are evil and so is the man down the road who kicks his dog. Evil is the one who kills children in a school and then takes himself out. Evil is the scam artist, one who cheats on his taxes, and the one who hates Christians.
The evil one is their master.
Evil is like-minded, but causes descension. Evil is purely unsympathetic and enjoys causing harm. Love is far from them, except self-love. They pay back evil for evil and then evil multiplies. They return insult for insult, and then violence spreads. The heart, the mind, the soul of the evil is dark.
They are not blessed, nor will they inherit any blessings.
Those who belong to the LORD are not like them. The “with God” life keeps us safe from self-destruction. Our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of light.
Jesus is our Master.
The LORD bends down to hear our prayer. We are in right standing with Him because of Christ. We are redeemed and like-minded. The Holy Spirit has poured God’s love into our soul, so we are sympathetic.
We are humble because we know the truth: without Him, we too would be children of darkness. Once we were evil, marked for destruction and God’s favor was far from us. But now we’ve inherited the blessing of God’s favor.
If not for God’s great love, we would return evil for evil and insult for insult. We are blessed because He has dealt favorably with us. His move toward us has saved us—our move toward Him keeps us safe.
There, but by the grace of God go I!
The LORD brings peace to the restless soul and joy to the joyless heart. We do what is right in His eyes—not because He’s watching, but because He’s watching over us with love.
God is faithful, so we can be like-minded and sympathetic, so we can learn from Him. God is love, so we can love others. God is good, so we can show compassion. God is merciful, so we are humble, restraining from returning evil for evil or insult for insult.
Can you imagine a greater blessing?
Call to Action
Look around you, people do not seem as courteous as they used to, and driving is dangerous when drivers believe they always have the right away. If you’re focused on this then, your heart could get angry, frustrated, and worry about the state of things.
Okay. Now, look around you again, but this time try to discover the blessing by showing kindness to the unkind and yielding the right of way to those who don’t deserve it. Smile at the grumpy clerk, or buy a coffee for the person behind you in the café.
Believe me, when we love the way the Lord loved us, we will see a change. Not a change in them, but a change in us, for we are blessed beyond measure.
Wait for it—your relationship with the Lord will make a difference.
May the Lord bless and keep you—may His face shine upon you and give you peace.