13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 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, 15 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; 16 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. 17 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. 1 Peter 3:13-17
Christians will always draw the world’s ire and fire. Behind it all is Satan, who vehemently hated, and hates, the One we follow.
Since Christ’s spirit is within us, we can fully expect to be slandered, reviled and intimidated, as Jesus was, for His name’s sake. It goes with the territory.
Like Jesus, we don’t fire back, but respond to persecution with gentleness and reverence. This strategy seems odd, but it’s textbook for those in Christ.
Further, through it all, we continue to act righteously, keeping a good conscience. This may do nothing to win us any friends, but it will register in the minds of our accusers as authentic.
Christ’s strategy, as relayed through Peter, is for us to provide a vivid contrast to the world. This contrast is heightened by persecution.
Ultimately, millions upon millions saw the purpose of Jesus’ suffering in light of his resurrection. Now we suffer as he did, but to a far lesser degree. But in our case, we’re here and he’s not, and the world can see what a truly “resurrected” person looks like.
In return for the heat we take, we obtain His blessing and full protection. At the same time, we further his kingdom and see it grow firsthand.
So, our counterintuitive behavior under attack begs a huge question. What person would act this way under such pressure?
Well, it’s all about getting us onto the witness stand. There we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God. There, we give our reason for the hope that is within us.
Why else are we here?