control your tongues

1 Peter 3:8-22

The household code has just been completed in this book – similar to Colossians and Ephesians but shaped by the circumstances in Asia Minor.  The addressees remember are “aliens” – different than the surrounding culture.  Think about countries in which Christians are a minority – Pakistan, etc and you will see and understand better the problems identified in 1 Peter.

In the first part of today’s passage, on which I will focus, we find the virtues listed in verse 8 are in reference to how Christians speak with others.  The words of the referenced psalm speak of requirements requiring controlling one’s tongue then moves to verses about seeking peace and concluding with the promise for those who do good.  Today…most of this country especially rails against constraints on free speech.  The psalm alludes to appropriate speech when dealing with volatile or violent situations.  The psalm suggests responding with a “blessing” but it doesn’t necessarily imply the need to spout prayers.  It could mean, in today’s jargon, that quiet words of respect, sympathy and, yes, even disagreement are appropriate.  The text presents us a challenge…it suggests that God hears not only how we pray…it suggests that God hears how we speak to others.