1 Peter 1:1–4 ‘Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles, scattered … who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God…’ (vv1–2a)

Peter, former fisherman and Christian disciple, encourages the Christian Church suffering their first violent persecution under Roman emperor Nero.

This was brutal, a source of great fear amongst the early Christian communities. Scattered throughout what is today Turkey, these disciples found themselves the unwitting scapegoats for Nero’s personal plans for grandeur.

Persecution has accompanied Christians throughout history. It’s one consequence of the challenge of serving God.

It plays on our instinctive human anxiety about appearing different. Uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, envy, insecurity and so on are redirected towards some other social group.

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We see it today in the way unemployment is blamed on immigrants. As pressure builds up within society there is a need to discharge social angst, and a target group is effectively blamed.

Consequently, those doing the blaming find solidarity and consolation in the fictitious solution they’ve invented to calm their fears.

Scapegoating, or gaslighting as it’s more fashionably called today, is as old as the Garden of Eden. Adam, caught in a lie, points at both God and his partner, Eve, for the harm that he has caused (Gen. 3:12).

So gaslighting emerges with the Fall, and women have been forced to fight back against Adam’s shaming of his equal partner throughout history.

Gaslighting techniques include denying something when there’s proof and telling blatant lies to cause someone to question their reality.* It’s one major cause of today’s mental health crisis.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord, may I take responsibility for myself and not shame others to escape taking personal responsibility. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Do you transfer your own feelings of shame by blaming someone else? Bring yourself and your shame to God and find wholeness to replace your hollowness.

Scripture To Consider:
1 Kgs. 18:1–18; Neh. 5:1–13; Luke 7:36–50; 2 Cor. 4:1–6

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.