November 13 - Blessing

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 13 - Blessing - 1 Peter 3:8-12

We live in a pagan world. We are simply visitors to this world. And yet, Peter also tells us that we must live together in this world, with each other and with the the residents of this pagan world. How? He gives us five characteristics:

1. Live in harmony with one another. In other words - be of like mind. This is very similar to Paul's teaching to the Philippians in Philippians 1:27-2:4. Both of these men were trying to teach some that seems so simple, yet is so alien to our nature.

2. Be sympathetic. The Greek is 'sympatheis' and means 'feeling with.' Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

3. Love as brothers. Greek - you know this - 'philadelphoi'. 1 Thessalonians 4:9. Paul says that he didn't need to tell us about brotherly love because we had already been taught by God to do this. I guess if we haven't learned the Golden Rule by now - we never will.

4. Be compassionate. This word is found only one other time in the New Testament - in Ephesians 4:32. This is a tender-heart towards someone in need. I guess that I would also associate this with kindness which is in the list from Galatians 5:22-23 of the fruit of the Spirit.

5. Be humble. Putting others before ourselves. I was in Junior High when I first discovered the cycnical implications that no one did anything for anyone else unless there was an ultimate personal payoff. That floored me! Now, yes - I am a "Friends" television show addict, and I distinctly remember Phoebe's crisis of conscience when she realized that it was nearly impossible to do something without getting some kind of benefit for herself. But, how do we consciously put everyone else before ourselves? It's so difficult and yet, Jesus demands it of us.

And now, we've finally reached verse 9 (1 Peter 3:9). I finally read "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Alborn last night. What a wonderful book. But, one of the things that Morrie said in their last days together was about his reaction to people in traffic. He would raise his hand when he was cut off - the offending driver was expecting to see a rude gesture, but Morrie would smile and wave as if to offer that driver his place in traffic. It changed the face on the other driver quite often.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. Can we really live that way and not have a heart attack? I believe that to avoid the stress that leads to ill health, we have to live that way.

Peter goes on to say that we must react with blessing, because it is to this we are called. The reason is so that we may inherit a blessing. Jesus speaks of that inheritance in Matthew 5:10-12, while Peter goes on to quote from Psalm 34:12-16.

Holiness must go out from us in our interactions with people.