Have you ever had someone politely excuse themselves and then point out a personal matter? e.g. “Pardon me, but your shoelace is untied;” “Pardon me, but your ……” or the classic “Was your shirttail on fire? It’s out now!” (Groan here!) Some are more skilled at this than others and quietly seek to be of help rather than to continue the embarrassment.
In the opening paragraphs of Peter’s 3rd chapter of his first letter, he is led to encourage and challenge wives and husands. (I posted some reflections from 1 Peter 3:1-6 at my other blog – Live Life! International and am aiming soon to reduce my ‘blogging’ efforts to one location.)
In verse 7, he turns his attention to husbands. Both spouses have their ‘issues’ to wrestle with as they seek to work out in conduct what Christ has worked into their lives. “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Rudeness, though easy, is not an option! It’s one thing to walk down an aisle in a beautifully decorated sanctuary and declare publicly vows before a listening and watching audience. But once the honeymoon is over, once the stress of daily living presses in, what is your conduct really like?
Peter had his own share of character issues, didn’t he? He was married, (remember Jesus healed his mother-in-law in Matthew 8), and though we don’t know details about his wife, the rest of his life provides examples of a tongue which at times engaged in speech that proved sinful. He was zealous and at times over-eager in his efforts to demonstrate to Jesus the loyalty of a disciple.
What are the consequences for Christian husbands who don’t live as they ought? Their prayers are hindered, blocked and restricted from what they could be because of conduct. Peter, as a faithful ‘Old Covenant’ follower, would have known Psalm 66:18-19 “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.” Is 1 Peter 3:7 not a New Testament application of th is same principle?
We don’t have to be perfect to pray, but part of prayer certainly involves confession of known sin. In Peter’s example, husbands need to reflect on their relationship with their wives as they cultivate their relationship with their heavenly Father. It won’t take much soul-searching to find ‘issues’ to own up to before God! How have I spoken to my wife? How have I treated her? Does she know how much I care?
I don’t write from an area of expertise, trust me! Too often I’m in my own world, thinking of ‘my’ plans, ‘my’ day, ‘my’ agenda. Reading 1 Peter 3:7 is like a tap on the shoulder by the Holy Spirit who whispers – “Pardon me, but your character is showing!”