Podcast: 22 June 2020

Hello and welcome to a new week of our Foundations Daily podcast. My name is Liam, I’m part of the staff team here and I’m going to be picking up the baton from where my colleague James left off last week, and his excellent reflections on Peter’s first letter.


Today’s passage is 1 Peter 3: 8-12. We are going to focus on verses 9-10:
 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  For,

“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.

Honestly, how are you finding lockdown life today? This week? We read and hear a lot at the moment about the collective challenges we’re facing on both a global and national level. These are indeed exceptional times we find ourselves in. And yet, amidst all of that, there are our own personal challenges that we are encountering everyday which have perhaps been exacerbated as a result of this crisis.

For us, we’re finding that as a family – we have two small kids and we’re soon to add baby number three into the mix – there are times, especially in the last few days and weeks, when our relationships with one another have become a little fractious – most notably evidenced in how we sometimes speak to each other. It’s felt like the structures and routines we put in place at the start of lockdown have begun to wear thin and the, at times, monotony of everyday life has brought with it annoyance and frustrations, expressed in sometimes cross words with one another. Perhaps if you’ve got small children you can identify with this also?

Your challenges are probably very different to ours but we all experience them nonetheless and  today’s passage I think has a lot to teach us about how we are to live, how we are to be an effective witness for Jesus in times of great challenge. In today’s scripture, Peter addresses the issue of unity. In verse 8 he calls for the church to ‘like-minded’ – of one mind and heart evoking here a reminder of how the early church lived – that which we see described in the first few chapters of Acts. Peter calls for the church to demonstrate that it is ‘sympathetic’, ‘loving’, ‘compassionate’ and ‘humble’.  Wow – how much of a challenge is this? Maybe as we reflect upon these our minds are drawn to one that we are finding particularly challenging at the moment. An attitude that perhaps God is actively seeking to develop in us at this time?

In today’s focus verses, Peter spells out further how we are live in such a way that we seek to cultivate unity in our relationships. I’m reading from the Message version here:

No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;

It’s important to remember here that Peter’s is speaking specifically into the situation that these predominantly non Jewish Christians found themselves in. As they were persecuted continually by their Greek and Roman neighbours for their faith in Jesus, there must have been a huge temptation to fight back – both in action and word.  Knowing this makes what Peter says next all the more challenging. No…he tells them. You are called to live differently. To not retaliate. To not trade insults. To not seek to get even. And in this way, Peter tells them, you will be blessed and you will bless others.

This language of blessing takes us all the way back to creation. When God blesses something he gives life to it, the ability to pro-create. God in the beginning blesses the living creatures. He blesses us – humans. He blesses a day – the Sabbath. And then in Genesis 12 God makes a covenant, a promise to Abraham that through him he will bless a nation who in turn bring blessing to all the peoples of the Earth. This is big!

And Peter, in encouraging and instructing the persecuted believers here, is saying..as children of that same promise, remember that you are called to bless too. ‘That’s your job.’ That’s what God created us to do. We are blessed so that we may bless others.

And what’s a big barrier to blessing – our tongues! The words we use. We know that our words carry tremendous power. Peter’s message to the believers is: choose them wisely. Despite the fact that everything in them must have thought ‘the way we are being treated here is wrong’, Peter calls on the church to speak in such a way that demonstrates God’s grace and mercy. And that as they do so, it will be a powerful witness to the reality of who Jesus is.

The same is true for us. The church is called to be a bringer of unity. Never has this been so more timely for us to reflect on given current events.

Unity starts with us and the relationships we cultivate with those around us. We may not face direct persecution for our faith today but will probably face some form of challenge, moments when our relationships with others are tested and where our frustrations grow. In those moments, let us ask God by his Spirit to enable us to speak carefully, constructively and lovingly. As we do so, let us find and embrace life, God’s blessing to us, this day – that we may in turn bring that blessing through our relationships to others also.


God thank you that you desire to bless us. Help us today to embrace you, and the better life that you have for us, as we consider the words we use in the conversations we have with others. Help us today to bring your blessing to our relationships. Amen.

BIBLE READING: 1 Peter 3:8-12 (NIV)

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,

‘Whoever would love life
    and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
    and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
    they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’