Peter wrote his first letter to Christians who were suffering. He was reminding them that their first importance was to live every day as if it were their last, living to please the Lord. His reminder to not repay evil for evil led into his plea to suffer for righteousness’ sake. If we should suffer, he argued, don’t suffer because you deserve it. Rather, suffer for the sake of being righteous.
Then Peter quotes from Psalm 34, saying, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV).
Loving life and prayer. According to Peter, these are the bedrock of staying pure and maintaining righteousness. Peter is clear: “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed” (vs. 14). This sets an example for the unrighteous, and they will notice the goodness. That’s also why Peter says to always be prepared to give an answer for the reason for the hope that we have. Loving life and praying are essential ingredients for the successful propulsion of Christianity in this world!
Do good. It’s not a phrase that we hear often. But it’s one that was repeated often in the scriptures. Ephesians 2:10 ESV says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We were created for good works, for doing good to others. That is our purpose and God’s desire. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” And Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Are we getting the picture? Over and over again we are told to do good to one another.
Perhaps a different way to put this is, don’t be greedy with the many ways you can bless others. The word “good” is intentionally broad. There are literally a million ways that we can do good to one another. We can mow a lawn or rake leaves. We can drop off groceries to the hungry family. We can pray with those who are struggling. We can lend an ear to people whose lives are in tatters. We can put gas in someone’s car. The sky is the limit. But whatever good we do, we should point people to Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”