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.
1 Peter 3:8-9
In these two verses, Peter is telling us what it looks like when we love one another. What may confound us at times is that He has set this out as an imperative, making it a lesson or instructions. When a group of people share real fellowship, what happens, what do they look like to others?
Well, let’s see, they are in harmony, they aren’t fighting, they are gentle and they are humble in their demeanor, caring for one another. They are forgiving of one another, and they are blessings to one another. Isn’t that about what he said? OK, maybe you are thinking that I simply found different words and re-wrote the text… a kind a paraphrase. Fine, then let’s think about it.
To love is to put the interests of others ahead of our own interests. So, when it comes to opinions, we are not going to argue and fight to “win” every point, we are going to respect the views of other people, and in this we are “like-minded.” That love involves being sympathetic with those whom we love is pretty much a given, right?
Can you love a person and not have compassion when they are hurting? Of course not, because you care about them. Isn’t the same true for humility? If you are putting their interests ahead of your own, you aren’t going to be cramming things down their throats are you? It would seem not…
If someone you love sins against you, aren’t they usually the first ones that you are willing to forgive? So, there is no evil for evil and insult for insult. No, you would try to be a blessing to those you love, even when they aren’t being good to you… forgiveness again.
See it now? Peter is describing love in action:
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
1 Peter 3:10-12
Lord, may we become the people you would have us to be, loving one another as you loved us, so that in all that we do, we would be pleasing in Your sight.