Responding to Opposition with Grace

1 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”

There are many people today stressing unity, but most of it is not unity with Jesus Christ and with the mind of Christ, even within the gatherings of the church. Most of it is about unity with the government and with the world, as a whole, or with marketing schemes of institutional churches (businesses).

So, just because people talk about unity as a good thing, please know that not all unity is for our good. For, we are not to be of one mind and heart with the world or with the ungodly or with any government or with the marketing schemes of institutional religion (not the body of Christ).

But we are to have unity with Jesus Christ and with the word of God and with other believers who are also united in heart and mind with the Lord Jesus and with the teachings of Scripture (the whole counsel of God). So, we need to be discerning about this so we don’t unite with the wrong people.

Also, sympathy, tenderness of heart, a humble mind and brotherly love should also be founded in our relationships with Jesus Christ and in the word of God, and they should not be in accord with the philosophies, attitudes, and behaviors of this sinful world.

For example, it is not loving to encourage anyone to sin, or to sin along with them, or to give them the idea that God is okay with them sinning against him, or to lie to them to make them feel good about themselves in their sin. If we really care about them, we will show them the way of escape out from underneath temptation to sin and the way to victory over their sin.

Also, blessing people is not saying a bunch of stuff or doing stuff just to make them feel good about you and/or about themselves. To bless is to “speak reason which confers benefit” (biblehub.com). It is to speak to them or to do for them what is beneficial to them (in a good and godly way).

So, we don’t ever lie to people. We can be kind and loving and be sympathetic and tenderhearted with people without lying to them. Jesus never lied, and neither should we. Flattery is not of God. We should always be sincere. We shouldn’t ever say what we don’t mean.

1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV

For, “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.”

Exactly! We are not to speak what is evil, and we are not to speak lies, not even “white lies.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to die to our former way of living for sin and self, and we are to be renewed in our minds and hearts away from living in sin to now living to God and to his righteousness.

And the good we are to do is the good that God has commanded us to do, not as the world defines “good.” For not everything the world terms as “good” is good for us or for anyone else. For, the world’s idea of “good” and God’s idea of “good” are not going to be exactly the same.

Also, we need to guard our minds and hearts against adopting the values, thinking, philosophies and attitudes of the world. Social media can be a breeding ground for worldly thinking, philosophies, attitudes, images, and speech, so we must be so careful to test everything we hear and see.

And the peace we are to seek and to pursue is not worldly peace. It is not compromise with the world so that the world will like us and not be against us. It is peace (unity) with God, and it is wholeness of mind and heart in relation to God and to his will for our lives. When we are walking in obedience to his ways, we are at peace.

And notice with me here that when this refers to the righteous, it is referring to those who are living righteously. They are those who are united in mind and heart with God and with his word, who are not those who get even with people, but are those who bless others for their good.

They are those who keep their tongues from evil and from speaking lies, and they are those who turn away from evil and who do good, as God defines good, and who are living at peace with God. They love others sincerely, and their desire is to do for others what is for their benefit (their good). The Lord listens to their prayers, but his face is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 3:13-17 ESV

“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.”

Nonetheless, if we are living righteously, and if we are loving others with sincere love, and if we are turning away from evil and we are doing what God has called us to do, the good he had planned for us to do, and if we are sharing God’s word, and if we are leading others to turn from evil and to do good, then we should expect to be opposed and even attacked.

Suffering for righteousness’ sake should be considered part of our walks of faith, and we should be no stranger to it, nor should we fear it or fear those who are coming against us. We should pray for the wisdom of God in knowing how to respond to those opposing us, but we should not let opposition dishearten or discourage us.

In our hearts and with our lips and with our actions we should always honor Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives. We should honor him as holy and we should be holy in all that we do and say. We must not let our opposition “get our goat,” i.e., irritate us, but we must remain at peace. And we must continue on in speaking the truth of God’s word, in love, for the salvation of human lives and for the deliverance of people from slavery to sin.

The Lord’s Anointed

An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.

They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.

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