1 Peter 3: 8-12

Peter continues his discussion of speaking truth to power.  “Finally…” he says, but actually it will take him two more chapters to wind up his advice to these young Christians spread around the Roman empire who are experiencing hard times.  We are listening in for many of us like those people long ago are grieving the impact of Covid, the pinch of inflation, and fear the clouds of war on the horizon.  We feel helpless as the world events seem unsolvable by our individual lives.  Evil is big and we are little.

            A Chinese proverb speaks beautifully to this dynamic:  “The flapping of the wings of a butterfly can be felt on the other side of the world.”  If I considered myself defeated because the task is too big, the proverb reminds me that I can impact the lives of those who touch me and so a ripple effect begins – around the world.  Peter says it this way,

         “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (v. 8,9)”

As we do good to those who do not deserve it, like a pebble thrown in a lake, we do not know what the final ripple will impact.  Likewise, Peter reasons that because we have all fallen short of perfection and yet are loved by God, we too can pass on that blessing by loving those who are not perfect towards us.  This is not to condone abuse nor to encourage continuing in destructive situations to those touching our lives but as much as is possible we are encouraged to meet evil with good.  Peter says this is the only way to achieve real peace.  Escalating power to meet power, threats to meet threats, and revenge to pay back evil, we will probably achieve little eternal peace.

         I cannot control the world but I can try to discipline my own emotions and actions.  As we think about this today and realize our lives cannot change world dynamics, we must not forget we have a weapon. We can pray.  May I suggest we take time today to pray for those starving in Afghanistan and for the foreboding politics on the borders or Ukraine?  God is listening to you!

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