Our daily readings have been taking us through 1 Peter in our New Testament selections recently. I’ll admit something to you, 1 Peter is a book that I don’t think about often, but every time I read it, I come away saying, “Man, that’s good stuff.” Listen to what we are told today in 1 Peter 2:11-15:
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. 13 For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, 14 or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish.
Today we are told in the beginning of this passage that we are to live as aliens and exiles in this world. We are to be different. But that does that mean?
Look at what we are told. The Gentiles think Christians are really odd. It says here that many treat the Christians as evil doers. What are we to do? Get mad? Throw a fit? Start a fight?
No. The text says act honorably. So when they act right, even when being treated wrongly, people will say, “Wow, that’s some God they serve. Look how they act!”
We are told here to respect the “emperor” as well. Now remember what the Roman government was doing to Christians in this time, what they would do to Peter. They killed Christians, and they would crucify Peter, upside down. Because Peter did not think himself worthy to be crucified as Jesus was.
As Christians, in a world that will not always understand us, respect us, or like us, we have to rise above. We cannot sink to a level of hatred or anger. There are folks who are not going to like us, that are not going to respect us, that may respond to us with anger and hate.
We cannot respond to “them” in the way that they respond to us. We have to rise above. We have to respond with grace. We have to respond with peace. Because that’s Jesus’ calling to us.
We cannot do this on our own. Only through Him and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We can do this only through Jesus. But when we do, they know we are different. They know there’s something different about us when we respond with grace.
And that difference is Jesus. That’s why we do it. Jesus. In Him, for Him.
Today, may through all our actions, may He receive the praise He is due!