I Peter 3:8-12
The Christian life is not about following a particular set of rules, but about being a particular type of person. As members of one family, Christians should live together in harmony. We don’t have to agree on absolutely everything, but we should share the same concerns and priorities. If we are all following Jesus, we should find ourselves moving in the same direction! We should enter into each other’s needs and concerns, sharing all aspects of our lives (Romans 12:15). And we should regard other Christians as our brothers and sisters, loving them (whether we like them or not), offering help whenever we see a need, and putting their interests above our own.
Even within the Christian community, there will be times when people grieve and offend each other (intentionally or otherwise). But we should not react like unbelievers, by holding grudges or trying to ‘get even’. Instead, we should treat others as we expect God to treat us (Matthew 6:14). Our Christian calling is not to insist on our own rights, but to willingly surrender them – and to seek vindication only from God. Will we lose out in any way if we fail to stand up for ourselves? No: as we bless our enemies, we can confidently expect God to bless us!
How can we live life to the full? Peter quotes King David’s prescription in Psalm 34: if you desire good, then do good. Although avoiding evil is a good start, it is not enough; if we want to enjoy peaceful relationships, we must make positive efforts to do what is right and good. But one fact should encourage us: God is watching over His people. He is neither blind to injustice nor deaf to the prayers of those who suffer. And He will bless those whose words and actions (even under provocation) are consistent with His righteous and loving nature.