Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15b
Many first-century followers of Jesus were scattered throughout the Mediterranean suffering from mistreatment and persecution by non-Christians. Peter writes a letter to urge them not to lose hope and to stay faithful to the new life Jesus has called them.
We learned in last week’s sermon when believers live the way Jesus taught, their lives stand out as being extraordinarily different. So different, they need to be ready to explain to those who ask why. This week we learn that a huge part of what makes Jesus-followers stand out is how they respond to people who hurt them. Peter teaches when people mistreat us, our response should be to give a blessing instead of a curse.
It’s common to be good to people who are good to us. But when people are mean and cruel it’s uncommon and extreme to be good, merciful and kind to them. When our response is “extremely good”, people notice. Extreme goodness is hard to do and requires dependence on God’s power. But when we’re willing to give a blessing instead of a curse—we make Jesus believable and desirable to others.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
We have all been mistreated at one time or another for simply being who we are. Consider how you have handled that and where you are on the scale of payback versus responding with mercy and kindness. Ask God to help you grow in this area and commit to giving a blessing when you’re mistreated.
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
January is BIBLE READING. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICES TIP: Take five minutes to sit in silence after reading and responding, allowing the words you’ve just read to wash over you. Just simply sit in them and allow God’s Spirit to lodge the words deep into your heart.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.