The apostle Peter, in the early part of his second letter, gives emphasis to the importance of Christians being diligent in the development of spiritual qualities. How diligent did he want them to be? He urges, “…giving all diligence…” (II Pet. 1:5). Later, he adds, “…be even more diligent…” (II Pet. 1:12).
Since Peter wanted these saints to be diligent, he also knew the need for him to be certain he did not neglect his duty to call their attention to such important matters. He recognized he would have been negligent if he failed to remind them and if he did not do it “always” (1:12).
It is interesting that the words “diligent” and “negligent” are found in the same context. They are poles apart in meaning. One (diligent) signifies an earnestness, carefulness, a zeal to accomplish. The other (negligent) means to be careless, not to care.
Yet, this passage provides an interesting connection. Peter encouraged diligence on the part of his readers. He did not want to neglect his responsibility toward them. In order to fully reach the goal of spiritual development, Peter needed to be diligent in reminding them of the effort needed to produce virtue from the faith, leading to knowledge, self-control, etc. Should he not be diligent in reminding them, they could easily neglect what would make their call and election sure (10). Both Peter and his readers needed to be diligent. Neither would benefit from neglect.
Several questions could be asked in regard to these two words. Which is easier, diligence or neglect? Not a difficult answer for sure. Which produces the right results? A no-brainer.
These questions may be more challenging: How diligent are we? Is there a carefulness about spiritual matters that expresses itself in the persistent effort? How negligent are we? Do others see in us a careless attitude toward spiritual matters?
Let’s be diligent not to be negligent. Allen Hahn