In our 8th week of our Exiles series in 1st Peter, we continued talking about what Peter has to say about how the exiles should respond to suffering by looking at 1 Peter 3:8-17. Specifically, we saw this week how Peter calls the exiles to respond both to people are suffering and people who cause suffering.
1.) We get to be a family to the hurting. The church is a family who experiences joy and suffering together. A win for you is a win for me. A loss for you is a loss for me. When you are hurt, we all are hurt. As gospel-centered people, one of the first steps to walking with others when they’re suffering is sympathy. As exiles, we should put some serious effort into seeking to understand the source of other people’s hurting so that we can hurt with them and seek to share the gospel in the midst of it. Because we know where our hope to endure suffering comes from, we can sympathize with other people in the hope that we can share the hope we have in Christ with them in the midst of their suffering.
2.) We get to be a blessing to the hurtful. Peter implores the exiles to not repay “reviling for reviling.” Reviling is the idea that we will intentionally use our words to get back at someone when we feel like they’ve wronged us. It’s verbal hostility. The gospel calls us to do the exact opposite when that may even go against our basic instincts. The gospel frees us to be offended by other people or hurt by other people without having to hurt back. Jesus did this better than anyone. When He was slandered or wronged, He was a blessing for his accusers and even died for them. We can respond to reviling by caring for people, and by loving them. As exiles, we get to go out of our way to do good to those that hurt us.
In all of this, both in our suffering and our response to the suffering of others, Peter knows that this type of unshakeableness, this type of hope no matter the odds, is going to be attractive and beautiful to those not yet a part of the church and that it will also unnerve and bewilder others. When we endure suffering in light of the gospel and care for those that suffer and create suffering in light of the gospel, people won’t be able to help but to Jesus in the lives of us exiles.
-Rock of Pages- Page CXVI
-I Will Exalt You- Brooke Fraser
-Man of Sorrows- Hillsong
-Father You Are All We Need- Citizens and Saint