June 21. I Peter 3:1-12
GRACE LESSONS: Peter continues to emphasize living a grace-filled life in Chapter 3. When we “give grace” to another, we are bestowing underserved pardon or favor upon them. We don’t make them earn our kindness. It’s really quite radical, isn’t it? Our human nature wants to defend ourselves, retaliate, take revenge, and hurt those who hurt us. The way of grace is much harder, as we live lovingly among the unlovely. Verse 9 is very clear. “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.”
OUR PASSAGE: Just as slaves were welcomed as full members in the newly formed Christian community, so were women. Peter addresses wives specifically, who—like slaves—had precious few legal rights in that society. They had all the rights and privileges in Christianity, though. Co-heirs with all who believed. Wives and husbands are given similar instructions. They were to honor and respect each other. Wives came under their husband’s authority, but husbands were told to give them honor and reminded that their wives were “equal partner(s) in God’s gift of new life.” In fact, to treat one’s wife with harshness, Peter said, would mean a rift in one’s relationship with God. It would even hinder a man’s prayers. God’s commands to love, respect, and be kind to others applies in marriage too. We are not to demand our own way there, either.
(Side note: Women in our culture DO have the law on their side to report abusiveness by a husband and to leave that kind of relationship. If you are being abused, friend, do seek godly counsel and go somewhere safe. Pray for your husband, but don’t allow him to continue to dishonor himself by his abuse of you or your children. Help him be better by leaving and then seeking help in helping him.)
My verse: I Peter 3:11. “Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”
My response: Father God, help me to obey these clear instructions. Help me to turn away from every temptation to do evil. Instead, help me to do good to others, treating them gently and with respect. Help me to work to maintain peace in my home and society. Thank You that You bless the peacemakers.