“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
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.”
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,
always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
(1 Peter 3:8-17 ESV)
This is, at least in my opinion, the best passage to combat the cynicism and sarcasm of our generation that is destroying our souls. In our toxic world, hyperventilating on shock and abuse, we are hard pressed to find a sincere, sensitive heart. We won’t let our guard down … we’re sure if we do, we will be open targets for bigger bullies and super powers with more fire power than we possess.
But who hasn’t been treated wrongly for doing what is right? Who hasn’t experienced some form of abuse? Who hasn’t been undervalued and misunderstood? And where is our Sovereign God in all of this? Has He taken a vacation or
overlooked what has happened to us in all these hit-and-run accidents we endure? No, He is faithfully caring for his own and working out His will—often this includes suffering at the hands of friend and foe. So we are to entrust our souls to our faithful Creator and keep doing what is right (see 1 Peter 4:19).
Bob Hartman understood the truth found here in 1 Peter when he wrote these lyrics:
“Don't let your heart be hardened
Don't let your love grow cold
May it always stay so childlike
May it never grow too old
Don't let your heart be hardened
May you always know the cure
Keep it broken before Jesus
Keep it thankful, meek, and pure
May it always feel compassion
May it beat as one with God's
May it never be contrary
May it never be at odds
May it always be forgiving
May it never know conceit
May it always be encouraged
May it never know defeat
May your heart be always open
Never satisfied with right
May your heart be filled with courage
And be strengthened with all might
Let His love rain down upon you
Breaking up your fallow ground
Let it loosen all the binding
Till only tenderness is found”
(Petra, “Don't Let Your Heart Be Hardened”)
We say we believe in a sovereign, all-powerful God who sent His only Son to die wrongfully in the place of sinners. Let’s start living out the implications of these great truths.