Yesterday I shared what the Scriptures showed me, that I need to forgive. We must forgive even those that we might think are unforgivable, because we are also sinful creatures. “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing.” (1 Pet 3:8-9)
Today I want to follow up with the next three verses in this passage. “For the Scriptures say, ‘If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.'” (1 Pet 3:10-12)
In verses 8-9, Peter has called on Christians both to live in harmony together and to refuse to seek revenge. Even when insulted or treated with evilness, this is simply not an acceptable option for the believer. In fact, God commands Christians to give a blessing in exchange for evil treatment. In verses 10-12, Peter furthers his case by referencing Psalm 34:12-16. David’s words from the Old Testament still hold true. Those who want to love life and see good days should make some very specific choices about how they live today.
Both David and Peter encourage a positive attitude towards life – by faith in God Who has promised to be with us always, even when things are difficult – even when we are facing persecution and problems. To love life in the midst of trials is a deliberate act of the will and is honoring to the Lord, for it expresses an attitude of faith in God – it demonstrates a spirit of trust in Him, that He is in control and will work all things together for the good to those that love Him.
In verse 11 we are commanded to “turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it”. Knowing the devastating results of following after the evils of this world, Peter is encouraging the believers in Christ to refrain from speaking lies, but rather to seek and pursue after peace. But we can’t simply turn “away,” we must turn “toward” something.
God’s set-apart people are called to turn toward doing good. For us, when confronted with evil, God means for our response to become, “What good can I do?” More specifically, we are to ask, “Where is the peace?” Or, “How can I help create peace?” And the specific question we must continually ask ourselves is what does God’s Word say I should pursue? The Lord Jesus Himself told us that peacemakers are blessed by God and are called His children – but in a fallen world, peace is something that is only found in Christ – and we must seek after it and actively work to maintain it.
The world may desire peace and make proposals for peace – they plan for peace and even sign peace treaties – but only believers in Jesus will FIND true peace, for peace WITH God comes only to those who trust in Christ as Savior and the peace OF God is given to those believers who maintain sweet fellowship with the Father.
Jesus instructed us to pray for those that persecute us, while Paul reminds us that when we are cursed – we are to bless those that curse us, and when we are hurt – we are to heal. Compassion towards our aggressors and returning good for evil is not the normal response when one is persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and yet Christ called us to bless those who persecute us and to pray for those that falsely accuse us and say all manner of evil against us.
The Lord isn’t blind to our pain when ungodly men and women say and do all manner of evil against us for Christ’s sake. In fact, “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil”.
God is paying attention to all who are His people in Jesus. His ears are open to our prayers. He is ready and willing to hear us as we reject the option to repay evil with evil, and choose instead to give good. We are to seek peace. But God also notices those who do evil. David’s and Peter’s words are meant as a comfort: God does not simply ignore the hurtful actions of those who bring suffering to His people. His face is against the evil ones. Justice will come (Rom 12:19).
Heavenly Father, Thank You for my life and I pray that through my actions and attitude I may become a real encouragement to others – to Your praise and glory. I pray that day by day I may grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus for in searching for Him who is the Prince of Peace I know that I will find and keep His perfect peace in my heart. Heavenly Father, thank You that Your eyes are over those that are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and that Your ears are ever open to our prayers. Have mercy on those who have not accepted Your gracious offer of salvation, and use me as a witness to Your goodness and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.