Last night we looked through the New Testament to get practical instruction on an important skill Christians need to have in our corner of the world. How should we respond when Christians (or we ourselves personally) are lied about and insulted? Here are the scriptures we read, with the bullet points we pulled from each passage for direction.
1 Peter 2:11-12
- Stay holy, privately (2:11)
- Stay “good” publicly (2:12) – in ways non-believers would recognize as good
1 Peter 2:23
- Think of Jesus’ example – don’t answer back with the same kind of speech
- …and don’t threaten
- …and entrust yourself to God.
1 Peter 3:8-9
- Speak blessings to those who don’t bless you. (Mt 5:44)
1 Peter 3:14-16
- Don’t be afraid of those who threaten (3:14)
- …but fear God, that is, honor Christ in your hearts above everything else (3:15)
- Be ready to speak about what is true (3:15), positive, clear, understandable message
- Keep your conscience clear (3:16)
1 Peter 4:14
- Understand how God’s Glory works—shame in this world which doesn’t know God, leads to honor in the next. It’s counterintuitive. Cross > glory.
- Be willing to associate with others who are insulted
- Choose it if you have the choice. And glory in the shame—it associates you with Christ, which is greater honor than what our generation offers in comfort, wealth or fame.
- Associate with the shame of Christ, even if it costs you old community and identity
1 Thessalonians 2:2
- Respond with boldness in your willingness to speak the message of Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:13
- Answer with encouragement to follow Christ
- Rejoice. (you have a heritage, you have a future reward.)
Why do we respond this way?
- Because this is how God is, and it demonstrates that we’re fundamentally connected to him. See Luke 6:35 — “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” This is how God’s power works.
- It lets God be God. He is the avenger of lies and lifelessness. One day he will expel every lie from the earth, and everyone who clings to lies will be swept away with them. In the mean time, he’s extending patience and kindness to anyone who wants to turn from lies to the truth.
- In the meantime, responding this way will show the gospel to be the life-transforming power that it truly is, and it will show that in Christ we have something better than what is taken from us when we’re insulted.
If you don’t follow Jesus, and you haven’t experienced new spiritual life through trusting in him, we simply want to ask you: Do you have anything in your life this powerful? Do you have something that could sustain you if you lost face, lost friends, and lost reputation? Friendship with God, identification with Jesus Christ, and the inner power of the life of the Spirit of God provide Christians with what they need to endure shame and insults. God is freely offering you this life and this power. Do you want it?