The Just and the Unjust
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." I Peter 3:12
I have found that many times our attitude as Christians is separation from those that don't know Jesus Christ. We tend to lift ourselves up as one that is special or favored to God. The verse above is one that is used by many to justify this attitude, however, if we keep in mind that God's ways are not our ways we may be surprised to find that Peter was telling us something other than what most denominations teach with this verse.
Let's do some Greek translating on a few of the words in this verse.
The word "eyes" is the Greek word "ophthalmic" which means vision, a watching or inspecting with intensity. The word "righteous" is the Greek word "dikaios" which means to conform to being a Christ one, or reflecting the image of God. The word "face" is the Greek word "prosopon" which means the eye, or anything which is turned or presented to the eye of another. The word "against" is the same Greek word used for "upon" in this verse. It is the word "epi" which means superimposition, towards, rest, or even touching. The last word is "evil" which comes from the Greek word "kakos". This evil is the same word Jesus used in Mark chapter 7 to refer to the difference of what he was teaching versus the vain teachings of the religious system. He tells us that evil is not from without, but begins in the heart of man by taking that which is of God and bringing judgment and condemnation causing separation. This is not what we think of evil in the natural, but spiritual.
Now, let's review this verse with the Greek understanding:
For the eyes (to inspect with intensity) of the Lord are over (superimposed, resting) the righteous (the Christ ones, or those that reflect the image of God), and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face (eye) of the Lord is against (superimposed, resting) them that do evil (taking the word of God and bringing judgment and condemnation to others).
The Greek translation is revealing to us that this verse is a positive and a positive, not a positive for the good people and a negative for the bad which is how many denominations try to justify their teachings. A double witness to this understanding can be found reading John chapter 5 and focusing on versus 22, 27, and 30. This concept does not give us a license to sin, but the freedom to love with unconditional grace and mercy as He has loved us so that God's face can be seen when others see our face.