“But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be intimidated but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:14-15 CSB
The subtitle in one Bible for this section of Scripture says, “Suffering for Good.” Verse 13 says, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?” But even if people do criticize you for doing good, keep on doing good. Sometimes we fear doing the right thing because of what people will think. For instance, telling the truth is always the right thing to do, however, telling the truth might not shed the best light on us or a particular circumstance. We become afraid to tell the truth because of what people will think. Even knowing the truth will set us free, we are afraid to tell it (John 8:31 NIV).
When I was a little girl, my Uncle Tom had a candy store where we lived. His store was a gathering place where the men would go after work to discuss the days activities. My Dad, being a truck driver, would give me a quarter if I swept his truck out when he got home from work. I loved going to Uncle Tom’s store with him after dinner and spending my money. I honestly can’t remember if it was my little brother or me, we were together and didn’t have any money. We decided to help ourselves to some candy anyway. We were caught. We had to march into our uncle and tell him what we had done. I was not very old, but I still remember how scared I was to tell my uncle the truth. I was afraid to do the right thing because of the consequences I would suffer. The consequences I suffered was learning a good lesson through the love and grace of my uncle.
Going to church is the right thing to do, yet I’ve been criticized for being a hypocrite. They’re right, I am a hypocrite, as are they. Reading our Bible is the right thing to do, yet I’ve been made fun of for reading it. Praying is a necessity in following Jesus, yet I’ve been mocked for praying. We can’t let our fears of being persecuted for doing the right thing, stop us from doing it. Peter is trying to tell us to not be afraid to do the right thing, and he should know. He denied Jesus three times the night He was captured before He was crucified. Peter denied Jesus because he was afraid to do the right thing and admit he followed Jesus (Luke 22:54 NIV).
If they do persecute you, all you have to be able to do is tell them why. Why do you do what you do? Why do you go to church on Sunday? Why do you forgive the person who hurt you? Why do you love your enemies? Why? Just tell them the truth, because of Jesus. Even if you are afraid, do it anyway. Give yourself 20 seconds of courage, then just do it.