1 Peter 3:13-17 - Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
Peter says something strange in this reading. He says, "When you are slandered ..." Notice that little word, "when." He doesn't say, "if." He says, "when." It looks like Peter expects Christians to be slandered—pretty much every single one of us!
When I was younger, I didn't give much thought to the Eighth Commandment. You know the one, "Don't bear false witness against your neighbor"? I mean, I knew it was there, but I never expected it to have any really personal meaning for me. I tried to live an honest and open life, and I thought everybody would see that fact.
How wrong I was! A major storm blew up in our first parish, and my family was accused of all sorts of outrageous things. It was a nightmare. Still, we were fortunate. We were able to prove that the lies told about us were not true. There was an investigation, and we were found innocent. Nevertheless, the damage was done. We lost friends who believed the proverb, "Where there's smoke, there must be fire." We lost sleep, wondering how the lies would affect our future. And we lost our innocence, because the people who turned on us were trusted and close to us. Many years later, the scars are still there.
But Peter's advice turned out to be exactly correct. If you are suffering from slander, Peter says not to be afraid of them. That's a hard one. How can we do it? Peter says, "In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy." If we keep our eyes on Jesus, it really helps with the fear. When we look at our holy, faithful, utterly trustworthy Lord, it helps us stay upright through the storms raging around us. Christ knows the truth, and He will not abandon us. In the end, He will bring us out the other side.
There is a saying, "Truth is great, and will prevail." This is correct, though it may take many years before the truth is revealed, or it may not happen until Judgment Day. It is hard sometimes to wait for that relief. Nevertheless, we have everything we need to make it to that time. We have Jesus, who suffered from slander Himself, and who became our Savior. He knows what the way of the cross is like; He can help us walk it. He is God's own truth, shining even through the clouds of lies. And He is our life-the One who holds us safely in His own hands, so that we will never perish. Whether we suffer from slander or from any other evil, let us keep our eyes on Jesus.
THE PRAYER: Lord, You know the troubles of my heart. Please help me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Has anyone ever lied about you? What effect did that have on your life?
2. Have you been tempted to lie or gossip about other people? How do you deal with the temptation?
3. When you are in deep trouble and want to cling to the Lord with all your strength, what kinds of things do you do?
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