“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”1 Peter 3:8, NIV
Much of the difficulties experienced in the world today are man-made. Human self-centredness plays a major role in the pain that so many people are experiencing at the moment. Peter’s letter was written to Christians suffering under an evil, worldly system. But, in this dark world, we are called to be the difference and a beacon of hope. Today, we explore a few qualities that enable us to be effective light bearers in these trying times.
The problem with self-centeredness is that it sets one up against the rest of the world. Then it is always me and my interests against that of the rest of humanity. To become like-minded is to become part of something bigger than oneself. One needs to use one’s life, time and talents to serve something that transcends one’s own interests. For us, as followers of Christ, this is the kingdom of God. We are the body of Christ in this world. We serve one another with our love, time and spiritual gifts. To be like-minded, is as Paul called it in Philippians 2:2 – to be one of mind. We have a shared vision greater than our own interests. We work with each other to reach our goal. This does not mean that we are identical in every way, or even that we will always agree on everything. But we are walking the same path, on our way to a shared destination. We help one another to reach it together.
To be sympathetic means to be sensitive to my travel companions on the journey of life. It requires us to be aware of the needs of the people around us. We are called to help one another, sharing each other’s burdens. It requires self-sacrificing love as we follow the example of our Lord Jesus.
We are called to love one another – this is Jesus’ one command in John 13:34 and John 15:12. In 1 John 4:17, we learn that God is love and that we were created in his image, to love. Our Lord Jesus came to this world to demonstrate that love, and he has called us to follow him. This is his command that sets us apart from the world. His followers love one another as He has loved us.
To be compassionate – in the Greek it means to have a good heart. We were called to be the salt of the earth by Jesus, we are here to combat the rot. In everything we do, we pursue the goodness of God, and do our best to share his goodness with everything around us. To do this, we need the heart of Christ – to see the people in need around us, and a willingness to be his hands of blessing in those situations to help others.
Humility occurs when we experience peace in ourselves. We know that we are precious in God’s eyes, we were redeemed by the blood of Christ as 1 Peter 1:18 reminded us. No one is more, or less, valuable in God’s eyes than me, for the cost of individual redemption is the blood of Christ. And that is enough – I am grateful for who I am in Christ, that makes me humble, and ready to serve my neighbour.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are my Saviour, and my role model in life. Thank you for your love, you have transformed my life. Help me to love and to serve, like you. May my life bear witness to your goodness and mercy. Amen