Scripture: I Peter 3:13-22 (NIV)
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats ; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
“Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” If Princess Leia had a Bible with her after being taken aboard the Death Star, she might well have taken some time with this passage. She was trying to do good, trying to stand up for the defenseless against a merciless, evil Empire.
She was captured. She was tortured. She was even threatened with the destruction of all she held dear. Yet she never broke. She never fed the evil. She never gave up the idea that there was something greater than her life or lives of others, when it came down to it. Perhaps she didn’t quite embody “gentleness and respect” by hurling insults at Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin, but it was a bad day.
What mattered most is that she kept the faith. We don’t usually have the drastic scenario that the Princess had, though some around the world do. Some are being persecuted right now for their unwillingness to deny Christ and endorse a falsehood. They are willing to give up their lives–and many do–because they know that, as the saying goes, the worst thing isn’t the last thing. Better suffering during the short time on this side of eternity than eternal separation from God on the other side.
While it’s rare to have that situation here in our country, there are choices every day that require us to cling to the Truth or exchange it for an easier and softer way. Can we stand tall and claim the name of Christ when that decision comes our way? Let us always revere God in our hearts, which will make sure we are always on the right path!