“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 conscience, 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 3:13-17 ESV)
Generally speaking, if it’s our desire to do good, people will think well of us. If it’s our desire to do good, people will treat us well. However, there is an exception to every rule. And, at times, people will seek us harm because we desire good.
People may want to silence our testimony. They may desire to discredit us before others. Or they may seek to drag us into the mud, that we might wallow there with them.
Peter encourages us in the fact that, if we do suffer for righteousness, we will be blessed. And, for this reason, we should have no fear of those who seek us harm. We must simply remain faithful to the Lord. We must continue to honor Christ as holy.
However, not only are we to continue living for the Lord. We are to be always prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks about the hope we possess. In other words, we are to be prepared at all times to share both our hope and the reason for it.
One of the mistakes we tend to make is that we become aggressive in making this defense. We become hostile and argumentative. But Peter encourages us to make this defense with gentleness and respect. We are to do so, maintaining a good conscience.
We are to do so that, even if we are slandered, our good behavior will shame those who revile us. Our good behavior will make it evident to everyone that the slanderous accusations, being made about us, are untrue. Our good behavior will offer convincing proof of our innocence.
He concludes by telling us that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. If we are to suffer, it is better to suffer unjustly than to suffer justly. It’s better to suffer, having done the right thing, rather than succumbing to evil.
It should be our desire, as believers, to live for the Lord at all times. It should be our desire that both our words and our actions will point people to Christ. It should be our desire that we might testify regarding our hope, and live in this hope before the eyes of others.