Are you ever ashamed to identify as a Christian? Do your friends and acquaintances have negative associations with what "Christians" are and how they go about spreading their message to the world? If so, maybe it's time for a reminder of what it means to live as a true Christian in this world.
Think for a moment about times you find yourself coming into conflict with others - perhaps others who identify as Christians, or perhaps others who want nothing to do with the church. If they mistreat you (maybe because you're a Christian; maybe because you're gay; maybe for an entirely different reason), how do you respond?
When you read this passage, keep two things in mind: 1) In what ways can you change your own behaviors and attitudes to follow Peter's advice here? 2) If all Christians behaved as Peter suggests, how might the world's opinion of Christianity change?
1 Peter 3:8-16
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For,
" The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
" He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
" For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.