To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For,
“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
“He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.
~ 1 Peter 3:8-18
Many people probably think it would be preferable to suffer for doing evil than for doing good. After all, if you are doing wrong, you would deserve punishment. But God’s Word tells us it’s better if we suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Our Lord suffered more intensely than we ever will, and He was pure and sinless. He suffered as punishment for our sins. He took the stripes that we deserve. He hung on the cross and died in our place. He shed His blood to purify us.
Thank You, All-Merciful Lord, that Jesus has already taken the punishment I deserve. He took the torture and the mental abuse and even the death that rightfully should have come to me. Empower me by the Holy Spirit to do good and not evil and to take whatever suffering and mistreatment comes my way. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
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