In the movie The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent turned Two-Face says, “The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance…Fifty-fifty.” Harvey Dent’s analysis seems to be fifty-fifty too, partly right and partly wrong. The reality is we do live in a cruel, fallen world. However, we would be in error if we believe morality in a cruel, sin-laden world is chance. In fact, the gospel shows us otherwise. According to the foreknowledge of the Father, Jesus Christ was sent to live a perfect life, to die a sinner’s death on the cross as a substitute for our sins, and rise again to bring us salvation. If chance is the only morality in a cruel world, there is no hope. If the power of God in the gospel gives us morality in the midst of a fallen world, then we can rejoice in a hope. Because of what God has done in the past in Christ, we live differently in the present with anticipation for the future. That is why we live honorable lives as Christians, even in the midst of a hostile culture. This means we do not grow heart-hardened at the people around us. If there is a time for the body of Christ to come together, the circumstances of these times are it. The Apostle Peter exhorts the early Christian believers this ways, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (3:8). Don’t grow cold during dark and cruel times. Keep warm by showing love and compassion to your brothers and sisters in Christ, not focusing on yourself but living as the body of Christ in unity and by humility. Moreover, when you are wronged, live right. Maybe during times of suffering for the faith, the body of Christ finds itself more willing to come together. But how do they respond to the evil they face? As God speaks through Peter, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (3:9). The answer to a cruel world is not chance. The answer to a cruel world is not more cruelty. The answer to a cruel world is blessing. This blessing is seen most compellingly in the gospel. Romans 5:8 sums it up nicely, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” As sinners, we had and do rebel against God, speaking evil of His name. Yet, what did God do? He came to save us. The enemies who spoke evil of Him were the Ones He came to save. So, you may ask, “How can we bless while we are facing evil?” We can do so by looking to the gospel and realizing what happened in the person and work of Jesus Christ. King David realized this truth and the results of blessing. What is laid out in 1 Peter 3:10-12 is a quote from Psalm 34:12-16. The truth is that to love life and to see good days does not mean trouble does not come. It means that our response will be different the troubles do come. The one who keeps from speaking the same evil, who keeps from falling into deception is the one who will be blessed. The one who turns from evil and does good is the one who lives honorably. The one who seeks and pursues peace is the one who will find a blessing. The Lord is pleased when He sees His children living right while being wronged by the world around them. Those who do evil will have their day. God will pour out His wrath to those who do not trust in Him. But for those who trust in Christ, our witness is right living when wronged.
- When you face times of suffering and difficulties, are you more prone to isolate yourself from the body of Christ or to lean on the body of Christ? What does God’s Word say about that?
- How does reflecting and meditating on the gospel impact the manner in which you respond to evil coming against you?