Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (NLT)
We can suffer opposition and ridicule because of the malice or misunderstandings of those who don’t share our faith. We can also suffer opposition because of the arrogance and hypocrisy of those who embrace the faith.
Peter reminds us that while good conduct is no guarantee against persecution, it is an infinitely better witness to our faith. No matter how genuine and godly our lives may be, there will be those who will find a reason to attack us. The point is, let’s not make ourselves too easy a target by our own misconduct.
One way we can make things better is to share our faith with gentleness and respect. Shouting from the barricades that we are right and they are wrong might impress those who reckon witness is throwing our weight around by winning arguments. But it won’t do a lot of good and can actually turn people off.
A bit of humility in faith sharing goes a long way. We haven’t got all the answers, we share in the brokenness of the world, we do not always practise what we preach. Christian witness is not primarily a matter of who wins the arguments or passes the right pieces of legislation. These are secondary to the way we live. Our works give credence to our words.
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