Christians are servants. When we are baptized into Christ, we are meant to take Christ Jesus as our shepherd and guide in all circumstances. But we are also meant to take Jesus as our example, to follow him and become like him. Because he lived as a servant to all, so we must become servants. Because he was obedient in all things to his Abba, so we must also be obedient in all things to him. Because he did not repay abuse with abuse, so we are called to repay threat and abuse with love and service.
It is one thing to practice servanthood and kindness with fellow Christians, and to forgive those who forgive us in the name of Jesus. Sooner or later, however, we will come in contact with people who are not Christians. People who will take advantage, who will threaten, who will sin against us. How are we to treat such people? The author of 1 Peter says we are to respond as servants. It is the great paradox of our faith that our freedom in Christ is best expressed by serving Christ…and we are called to serve him in all circumstances. In the end, it is when we serve Christ by loving others that the church has the greatest opportunity to evangelize. When encountering those outside the faith—even the most troublesome souls—our deeds will usually speak far more loudly than our words.