“Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-19)
The call to a Christian life is a call to life on a higher plane with regard to relationships and behaviors. A Christian is called to abandon his or her cultural and social relationship and behavior standards favor of a new set of values based on the teachings of the Bible. Peter points us to some of these.
We are to be like-minded with fellow Christians. That means we try to get along. We are to “play well with others.” We do that by developing and practicing intentionally a sympathetic attitude. Basically, we are to love fellow believers.
We are to be compassionate and humble toward each other as well. That means we do not pay back evil for evil, or insult for insult, but as an expression of these new driving forces in our lives we are to bless rather than get even. Getting even is as evil as whatever may have been done to us, and there is no justification for using evil to confront evil. That is clearly not what we see on the cross.
For centuries, the Christian church has been plagued by occasional in-fighting, which has only served to help discredit the truth of the gospel, which promises change in how people relate and behave. One reason Peter wrote the words above was because he saw that problem in the churches then.
The call of God is for us to be a people who are led by the Holy Spirit to a higher plane, to relational and behavioral standards that matter, that make a difference. We are called to live lives that bless. Period.
Lord, Help us to live today and each day on that higher plane, where all our ways of relating and behaving serve to honor You and express Your gospel. Amen.