RELATIONSHIPS: The Apostle Peter, after commenting on Christian conduct in societal and personal relationships, turns his attention to conduct in general for every Christian. And certainly we could use this instruction today in all our relationships with each other. “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing,” (1Peter 3:8-9 NIV). Life would be grand if everyone followed these simple “rules of the road.” All Christians should seek the mind of Christ, which will bring us into like-mindedness, so we can live and work together in harmony. This does not mean we are cookie-cutter Christians but rather that we love Jesus enough and each other enough that we serve Jesus even though we have some differences.
It is easy in our world today with so many problems and so much suffering to harden our hearts and become unsympathetic to those around us. To actually “suffer with” (sympathetic) others in mind and heart becomes less and less common and more and more needed. With 24 hour news stations, and visual images overcoming our senses it almost drives us to shut down our sense of sympathy and compassion to survive. Questions drive us. Where do we begin? What would Jesus do? As we struggle with a lost, dying and hurting world how can we be obedient to the Word of Jesus? Let us begin with those around us and let God “drive the car” from there. “Every journey begins with a first step” and a life of sympathy, compassion and caring begins with the first act. Compassion and understanding goes a long way in helping and serving others whether friends or strangers. And pride, the disease that most of us are infected with, can be turned into humility as we serve others in the manner Peter describes.
The Apostle Peter reminds us to “not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary,” repay evil with blessing.” Is there any harder directive in Scripture than this?” For most people it is the natural instinct to match evil with evil and insult with insult…even for Christians. Don’t you hate that sin nature? I must admit that I am amazed to see Christians who have been the victims of some of the worst crimes of our day refuse to repay evil for the evil done to them or their families. They want justice, for sure, but evil for evil no way. And often they are praying for the perpetrator of the crime and their families. What Christian character is on display!! What examples for us who suffer small “evils” or “insults” and then make matters worse by responding wrongly. And how hard are those last words, “repay evil with blessing.” Wow, this does cause us to reach down deep in our soul and spirit and examine what kind of Christian we are. And while there in our house of thoughts we need to examine how we might be a blessing to those who have brought this act of evil on us.
Obeying God in these directives will produce God’s blessing in your life as He promised, “repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” God has called us into His Kingdom to bless us here and now and for eternity. Just as Jesus has blessed man in spite of all the evil done to Him so should we as members of His Kingdom be a blessing to people in spite of any evil done to us. God always gives us the grace through His Holy Spirit to fulfill the directives given to us. As we contemplate the Word of God recorded in this book of the bible let us commit ourselves to living out these words in our life today.