1Pe 3:14-16 “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
Have you ever been talked about in a negative way for doing the right thing? Doing the right thing will not always make you popular. As a matter of fact, doing the right thing may often make you despised. Are you happy when you are mistreated for doing the right thing? The word “happy” does not refer to the way you feel in this instance. Instead, I it is a statement about your condition. We are being told that we are supremely blest (see Strong’s) when we suffer for doing righteously!
Understanding that this is a blessing encourages us. We have no reason to fear “them” when we suffer for a righteous cause. Instead of being agitated over the situation, we are instructed to hold God in our hearts with great reverence. Why? Because it is God in us that enables us to do righteously. It is God that protects us from the fear of “them.” While there are those that will persecute you for doing the right thing, there will also be those who will be positively impacted by the righteous act. These may well desire to know why and how you were able to stand in the face of this adversity.
Are we always prepared to give an answer? That depends on whether we truly revere God in our hearts. If our answer is “because that’s what the preacher said,” then it’s not really an answer. Telling someone it is the way our ancestors did it is not an answer. We’ve always done it that way is not an answer. When we truly revere God in our hearts, we are going to study His word. We are going to pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And when anyone desires an answer from us concerning our defense of righteousness, we will be blessed by God to have a real answer; an answer that glorifies Him. While our answer should be made with humility and reverence before God, it should also express our confident belief in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
If we are accused of doing evil, let it be because we seek the righteousness of Jesus. Let us have all confidence in His instruction. Let us study to have an answer that is acceptable in His sight. Let us trust Him to put to shame those that falsely accuse because of our good behavior wrought in Christ Jesus.
May we study with prayerful anticipation of revelation from God through the Holy Spirit!