The word 'meddler' showed up in the passage I preached on this week (1 Peter 4:12-19).

Peter encouraged his readers to suffer as Christians, not as murderers, thieves or criminals. That makes sense to me. There's a big difference between suffering for your faith and suffering for your foolish decisions.

But what about the meddling?

Peter's list doesn't stop with criminals. Right there, at the end, he tacks on "meddlers." Don't suffer as a murderer, thief, criminal or meddler. One of these is not like the other.

It's hard to know when you're meddling. Where's the line between being involved and interested and engaged and meddling? It certainly doesn't feel like a bright line to me.

The Greek word we translate 'meddler' is 'allotriepiskopos'. The word is formed by smashing together 'allotrios' which means "belonging to another" and 'episkopos' which means "guardian or elder."

Maybe meddling happens when we try to be the boss of other people's lives, people who haven't invited us into that role. We over-reach, over-estimate our power and get burned. We small people make horrible gods and become meddlers when we try.

I'm grateful the Lord acknowledges that meddlers suffer, even as murderers, thieves and criminals. It is a painful thing to have your lordship over someone's life rejected. God knows this well.

And so do we.

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