Just incase you were curious… it's "Be prepared."
This section of text is incredibly challenging because in most situations it goes directly against "the way it should be." The first part sounds good, live in harmony, love each other. I'm trackin with that. "Do not repay evil with evil… but with blessing." WHAT! I don't know about you, but that is hard for me and most people consider me a "nice guy," whatever that means. I like that it follows it up with some proverbial wisdom.
By that I mean wisdom, that in general is true. Of course this does not fit all circumstances, but in general… those who turn from evil (gossip, slander, hatred, lies, murder, cheating) and seek peace (love, harmony, the good of others, encouragement, grace) will "see good days." Because "the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." Now some of you might be saying, I know some pretty evil people who are doing pretty well… This is true. This may mean a judgement that hits them at the end of their life. This may mean their deceit and stealing is going to come full circle. But do not mistake their temporary times of blessing for God's favor, a day will come when their "good days" will be shown to be what they truly are.
This is a promise, and yet another reason we do not need to fight people but love them and as 1 peter 2:12 implies live in such a way that shows people Christ and turns them to Him. We don't desire anyones punishment, but their repentance.
Again, as a general statement who is going to harm you if you are eager for doing good? Not many, it looks pretty bad to persecute someone like…. let's say Mother Theresa. It is possible, there is a day when it will happen but even then do not fear because you are doing it for the right reasons. I love this next part and I feel so many people miss it…
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do so with gentleness and respect."
This is not saying "know all theological, archaelogical, philosophical arguments to shut down people in arguments." This is saying give a reason for the hope that you have. What hope to we have? Simply… Jesus. We need to know why we have that hope. What has Jesus saved us from, essentially what is our testimony. Give a reason for that. Let's be honest if a person does not know us, they are not going to care about all the theological arguments. Firstly this is relational. Give a reason for the hope WE have. Now the key… do so with gentleness and respect. How many of you have been talked to by a Christian who missed this aspect of this verse? how many of you have been that Christian. Lord knows I have and of this I repent.
Everyone is in a different place, Christ met people where they were with gentless, empathy and compassion. He used boldness when necessary but to the broken and the seeking He spoke truth in love. It's so easy to miss that…. please. Grasp that… When we do this Peter says we have a clear conscience, we know we have not acted wrong, spoken out of turn, and we do not give more fuel to the fire of those who dispise Christianity the RELIGION, lets be honest there are a lot of us… yes I said us. Christianity the RELIGION is unfortunate. Christianity the vibrant, life giving relationship between God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and myself is amazing.
Therefore, Always BE PREPARED with a reason for the hope that you have. After this you can share the theological, philosophical, archaelogical, scientific arguments for your faith. But don't jump the gun… So many have been turned away by evidence with no empathy.