Short thought this morning . . early morning grandkids have a way of cutting into your “be still and know” time . . . Love it!
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
(1Peter 3:8-9 ESV)
What? Commands to obey. Context? A people under tremendous pressure, enduring difficult times. So why these commands in this context? ‘Cause pressure cookers have a way of making us want to let off steam. Or, as my kids used to put it, “Dad, you’re getting crabby!”
There’s something about difficult circumstances that drains the patience tank. Something about suffering that can lead to snapping at one another. Something about the crucible that causes us to be critical. So, addressing these children of God who are trying to figure out how to do life together as “exiles of the Dispersion,” Peter reminds them that when times are tough it’s best done in community and so, making the effort to maintain community is vital.
“All of you”, Peter writes. Not just those he’s already addressed — servant, wives, and husbands. Not just the most spiritual or the least spiritual. Not just those in leadership. But everyone.
Peter says, in effect, You’re all going to experience the propensity to be crabby as this season drags on. You’re all going to experience the temptation to turn on a brother or be short with a sister. You’re all going to have thoughts about going it alone as the persecution increases. Instead, all of you, double down on doing it together.
. . . have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. . . . bless, for to this you were called . . .
If we’ve been called to Christ, then we’ve been called to His body. If we’ve been called to be children of God, then we’ve been called to be the family of God. And so, when the going gets tough, and the temptation to be crabby intensifies, if we’ve been called to be blessed, then we in turn must bless.
I’ve said it before, this season is an opportunity for the church to build spiritual muscle. Might some of that muscle be the muscle of unity as we sympathetically, tenderly, and lovingly humble ourselves before one another and, for one another. Might some of that muscle be to bless our brothers, to serve our sisters, to build up the family.
By His grace. For His glory.