Try This Relationship Reset From 1 Peter 2-4

Try This Relationship Reset From 1 Peter 2-4
The Relationship Reset 

You might need a relationship reset. It’s been a weird season and maybe you need to refocus and rethink your relationships. What if there was one thing you could change that would transform your relationship with your boss, your coworkers, your spouse, your family? Just one thing that you can slightly tweak in your life that would give you more peace, stronger relationships, less conflict? Peter talks about this one thing in 1 Peter 2-4.

In 1 Peter 2-4, Peter was writing to a church that was spread out because of extreme persecution. The Roman government was tolerant of the Jewish people at that time, however, they did not approve of this new “sect” called Christianity. Peter was writing to Jews and gentiles who were following Jesus and had to flee their hometowns for their lives. Chapter 1 talks about being holy and having a new life through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:16). In chapter 2, Peter speaks on our relationship with and our identity in Jesus. Next, Peter gives those reading the letter advice for the relationships with authority, family, friends, and the church. Over and over again Peter mentions one thing that is a game changer for all the relationships you have in your life. I’ll summarize it: Focus on the next right thing that God would want YOU to do regardless of what others are doing. 

Your Relationship with Your Boss or Those in Authority (Chapter 2)

With a very chaotic transition of power, we have a new president, Joe Biden. Regardless of our political beliefs, as Christ followers, we need to look to the Bible for instructions on how to handle our relationship with governing authority. Right away Peter is very clear about what Christians need to do. Honor those in authority. In America, our lives are not at all threatened for following Christ like those who received this letter were experiencing . We are truly spoiled in this country. If we do face some sort of suffering or persecution for our faith, it’s nothing close to what Christians in the New Testament were experiencing. The emperor at that time was killing Christ followers! That is why this passage is so powerful. 

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good… Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-17).

There’s a theme I want you to pick up on here: Honor everyone and live in freedom. Don’t use your freedom as a coverup for evil. Use it to do the next right thing.

Hannah Lynn

I’ve been watching a show called The Crown. I also really loved the PBS show called Downton Abbey. There’s many times when the servants are misunderstood and harshly dealt with by the Lord and Lady of the house. Another great example is the servanthood we find in a movie like Pride and Prejudice. These movies and books give us a glimpse into what a servant’s perspective might have been. The concept of servanthood is not in our current American culture. Servanthood at the time of the Bible would have been more like a system that we would have found in castles in the 1700s and 1800s.

This type of servanthood should never be confused with slavery, where a person’s humanity and value is stripped away from them. Blind submission and not speaking up for those who have no voice is not what God calls Christians to do. If the government is committing an  injustice, we are still called to speak out against what is evil and champion what is good. There’s a way to do this that is still Biblical.   I’d love to go deeper into this, but I think this is a topic for another time. 

More practically, we can relate Peter’s words to our relationships with our bosses we directly work under. Peter uses Christ as an example for what we are to do when we are treated unjustly by employers. “But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21). Proverbs talks about how even when the consequences of your husband sometimes evil men succeed and good men suffer. Proverbs 24:19 says not to be jealous when evil men succeed and Psalm 37 instructs the reader to wait on the Lord even when men carry out evil schemes. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ve probably seen this happen in your place of work at some point. When a boss schemes or manipulates or works against you and succeeds to bring you misery. Maybe it was a coworker that talked negatively about you to your boss and your employer decided to listen. There’s a number of ways that we can suffer in the workplace for doing what is good all while watching evil succeed. But Peter is telling you to focus on what you can do that is good regardless of what others are doing — this includes those who are in authority over you.

You have probably also suffered for doing the wrong thing. I remember the first time I got caught lying. I blamed my sister for something. For a moment I felt relief. I had avoided suffering. That didn’t last long. My mom was a detective when it came to these things. When my mom found out the punishment was the worst and on top of that my mom didn’t believe me for a while. I got caught, I almost got my sister in trouble, and my character was shot. When this happens it hurts. It’s not fun. You don’t have a leg to stand on when this happens. That’s suffering — but not for what is good.

In contrast, Proverbs 10:22 says that the blessings of the Lord makes rich and there’s no sorrow in it. I believe that is the point we find in 1 Peter. Doing the next right thing may bring suffering and you may not see the benefit for years, however, you are building in yourself character that mirrors, points to and glorifies Christ — that is why suffering for what is good is better than suffering for what is evil.

Your Closest Relationship (Chapter 3)

One of the closest relationships we have on earth is with our spouse. As a newlywed I can see how my relationship with my husband affects so many things. When we have a disagreement it’s hard for me to focus on other things until it is worked out. Whether you have an awesome marriage with minimal disagreements or a difficult marriage relationship or if you are single there’s an important principle Peter touches on in chapter 3 that can help our close relationships.

When reading the context of these verses, keep in mind that Peter was writing to wives whose husbands either did not know Jesus or didn’t “obey the word” (meaning the Bible). As you could imagine, there probably was a lot of tension in those relationships. The point is that speaking to the other person in a gentle way, with respect, and not saying everything that is on your mind, is helpful in a tense relationship. This principle can be helpful in any relationship that is tense. Peter is advising the women to speak respectfully to their husbands even if what they are doing is not honoring God. Peter uses examples of Sarah and Abraham. Abraham is called the father of our faith, right? He was righteous and walked with God. Well, he also had so many mess ups and failings. He made Sarah cover for him when the princes of Egypt found his wife, Sarah, beautiful,  and wanted to take her for themselves. He told her to say she was his sister, , because he didn’t want to lose his life… not on one occasion but twice! God protected Sarah and he was so mad about this situation He sent plagues on all of Egypt (Genesis 12:10-18). Trust God. He loves you, girl. Even good men can fail, but God will not. The point is, that no matter what the other person in the relationship is doing, your job is to do what is right and to trust God with the rest. 

I think it’s good to note here that when I say a marriage relationship that is tense or a husband isn’t doing what is honoring God, I am not talking about infidelity or abuse. God hates divorce, but He loves us more. Seek Biblical counsel and professional help.

In verse 7, Peter shares another theme,this time specifically towards husbands: “Live with your wives in an understanding way showing honor because they are heirs with you of the grace of life SO THAT YOUR PRAYERS MAY NOT BE HINDERED”. If you are not taking the time to listen to your wives or love them as Christ sacrificially loved the church, your prayers may not get heard. Also, women are equal heirs in Christ. There’s spiritual equality between women and men. Don’t forget. God listens to women and will silence a husband if they are not listening to their wife. Husbands have a harder job, because they are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church — essentially laying their life down. Something that my husband has been doing an awesome job with is asking more questions about how I am feeling. He has been killing it in this area. Talking about feelings isn’t a thing my outdoors, construction worker man is used to, however, it’s made a world of a difference in our marriage. When he strives to get to know my emotions and feelings I know he is loving me the way Christ loves the church. Listening to your wife in an understanding way is the next right thing that husbands can do.

Your Relationship with Friendships 

You may be asking, Hannah, how do I know what the next right thing is ? Good  is sometimes relative. The Bible is pretty clear about what is wrong and right. In verse 3 Peter lists specific things like, “sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry”. Expect your friends who don’t know Jesus to be surprised by some of your life choices, because it is unnatural to do what is good. Just expect people to be surprised when you choose to not gossip or when you choose to not get drunk at that party or when you decide to wait until marriage to have sex… It surprises people because not doing those things feels unnatural and there is a sense of suffering when we go against our flesh. And sometimes choosing to say no to sin leaves us alone. Peter says when this happens and your friends are confused, it is then an opportunity to tell them about your faith with respect and gentleness with a good conscience. “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscious, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” ( 1 Peter 3:13-18). When you talk about what God has done in your life, you have a reason for the hope that is inside you. Speak with respect and gentleness! And keep doing what is good regardless of what others are doing. 

You may be asking, Hannah, how do I know what the next right thing is ? Good  is sometimes relative. The Bible is pretty clear about what is wrong and right. In verse 3 Peter lists specific things like, “sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry”. Expect your friends who don’t know Jesus to be surprised by some of your life choices, because it is unnatural to do what is good. Just expect people to be surprised when you choose to not gossip or when you choose to not get drunk at that party or when you decide to wait until marriage to have sex… It surprises people because not doing those things feels unnatural and there is a sense of suffering when we go against our flesh. And sometimes choosing to say no to sin leaves us alone. Peter says when this happens and your friends are confused, it is then an opportunity to tell them about your faith with respect and gentleness with a good conscience. “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscious, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” ( 1 Peter 3:13-18). When you talk about what God has done in your life, you have a reason for the hope that is inside you. Speak with respect and gentleness! And keep doing what is good regardless of what others are doing. 

After Peter says that fighting sin is miserable, he doesn’t just leave us there. How? How do we fight off sin? Sin is a hard topic to talk about but it does affect our relationships like a sickness. We are currently waiting for a vaccine for the Coronavirus. Just like a vaccine helps our bodies fight off a virus, Chapter 4 gives us an antidote for sin. The antidote to fighting against sin — by serving others like Christ served us. “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2). And the best, coolest part is that through fighting off sin and serving others, there will be nothing keeping our prayers from being heard (1 Peter 4:1). The wording is very similar to what we see when we read about husbands listening to their wives. 

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” (1 Peter 4:8-9).

Instead of a command to just “stop sinning”, Peter is saying serve each other with the purpose of glorifying God instead. And again we see here that it is better to suffer for doing what is good… Do the next right thing regardless of what others do. 

Verse 19 of chapter 4 sums up this entire passage: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” Relationships are hard! But having the goal of doing the next right thing is crucial. It might be hard, but it’ll bring God glory and will give you character to lean on if you are talked about or slandered in your place of work, family or group of friends. Lean on the antidote, serving others, for the fighting against sin in your life. When we honor others, God, and follow in Jesus’ steps our prayers will be listened to. When we do what is right we can trust our faithful Creator to protect us and give our lives incredible purpose when we bring Him glory. 

Quick Recap 

In 1 Peter 2-4 we find five ways to reset three types of relationships:

Relationships with:
  • Those in authority
  • Your closest relationships/marriage
  • Friendships
Five ways to Reset
  1. Honor (even those in authority) everyone and live in freedom, but don’t use that freedom for evil. 
  2. It is better to do what is good and suffer than suffer for doing evil.
  3. Honor others, God, and follow in Jesus’ steps so that your prayers will be heard. In a marriage each person needs to do the next right thing. For wives it is to trust God in disagreements with their husbands. Husbands are called to listen to their wives in an understanding way and love the way that Christ loves the church — laying down their lives as sacrifices.
  4. Serving others is the antidote for sin. 
  5. Entrust your life to a faithful Creator.

*No matter what those in authority or in your close circles are doing — focus on the next right thing that God has called you to do*

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2 Comments

  1. Karla
    February 2, 2021 / 4:30 pm

    I loved how you doing explained this. Needed to hear this. Will definitely be sharing this.

    • February 10, 2021 / 1:40 am

      Thanks so much Karla! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me this was helpful! Yes! Please share.

      – Hannah Lynn

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HI, I’m Hannah Lynn

I am married to my amazing, youth pastor, hubby John Miller. As a radio host, Bible teacher, speaker, and blogger, who loves Jesus, I want to point a generation towards finding their identity in Jesus Christ. I do this through illuminating all the ways the Bible relates to your life, teaching Mental Health tools, and having fun along the way with fashion. Getting to know Jesus through the Bible has changed my life and I fully believe He will change yours.

Life with Him feels like I once was blind, but now I see in full color.

- Hannah Lynn

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