Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Called To Blessing (1 Peter 3:8-12)

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For

“ He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”

There’s really not much extra I can say about this section. It is simple, practical, and clear. St. Peter calls Christians to be unified, being of one mind (Gk. omophron), having compassion for one another (Gk. sympathes, literally “suffering together”), loving one another as brothers and sisters (Gk. philadelphos), being tenderhearted (Gk. eusplagchnos, literally, “good kidneys”) and humble-minded (which is a better translation of tapeinophron than the NKJV’s “courteous.”). All of these are character traits which Christians should display toward everyone, especially those in the Church, and they are really just outward manifestations of submitting ourselves to others.

Note that St. Peter reminds us not to return evil with evil, but with good. In doing so, he is merely reaffirming Jesus’ teaching about turning the other cheek. This is part of our calling as Christians, and if we do so, we will receive a blessing. This blessing manifests itself in this life in the form of inner peace, and after death, in eternal life.

On the quote from the Old Testament (Psalm 34:12-16 to be specific), FF comments: “The Psalmist originally referred to God’s blessing of life and good days in this age, but Peter applies his words to the age to come, for the apostle has no doubt that in this age the Christian will not see good days, but persecution…[God] will see how the sinners wickedly use [Christians] and will avenge the righteous on the Last Day. Peter’s hearers may invoke God’s blessing even on those who injure them, for justice will eventually be done” (88, emphasis in original).

I would clarify this by saying that in St. Peter’s day, most Christians certainly would not see good days (meaning wealth, prosperity, or physical peace) in this age, but today, thankfully, some can, at least to some degree. More importantly, however, all Christians in all times can see good days in the sense of having inner peace and contentment, knowing that no matter what happens to our body, our possessions, or any other transitory thing, no one can steal away the peace and joy that we have in Christ.

1 comment:

charlene said...

Father James,
Okay, I'm a bit confused. Someone does evil to us. We ask God to forgive that person, to have mercy on him. We can ask for mercy for our tormentors, but justice will be done? That sounds like God won't have mercy on them, the very thing we want God to give them. Help, please, I missed something somewhere.