8 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble,
1 Peter 3:8
On December 31, 2019, we ushered in a new year and a new decade. We anticipated 2020 to be a bright and uplifting time in our lives. We were hopeful, but we could not see “around the corner” into the future. When our nation became consumed by political unrest and suffered a devastating pandemic, reactions were mixed. Many were seriously scared and afraid. Others were apprehensive and discouraged. Still others became depressed and felt isolated. Families, employers, even churches and governments were indecisive about how to respond. People became angry and argumentative. Others were anxious due to fear of becoming sick or losing income. The human reaction to something we don’t understand often is to blame or “lash out” at others.
But what should be the Christian response? Our verse today gives us guidance, and it is very straightforward. We are instructed to be of one mind, unanimous in doctrine as well in practical aims, and all going in the same direction. Rather than being divisive and argumentative, we should be pleasant minded and cultivate a friendly temperament. If we have empathy,* we will feel what another person is feeling.
While it might be difficult for everyone to agree, we must react in love toward other believers and be sympathetic* which means we understand what the other person is feeling without feeling it ourselves. We must show compassion* as our feelings prompt us to take action. That is hard, isn’t it? Our responses should help relieve the suffering of the other person, and compassion drives us to cheerfully provide for their necessities as well as rejoice in their delights.
The last admonition Peter gives us is to act in humbleness. Be ready to show mercy and have a gracious merciful disposition. It is easy to share and be warm when there are no problems and the people around us are happy. However, when difficulties arise, we find ourselves challenged by what to do and how to help.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Analyze yourself over the last six months. Have you been kind and understanding to those around you? Have you encouraged those who were or still are afraid?
- Reread this devotional. [a] Choose words which might describe you when you are upset. [b] Go back and look for words which can show God’s love to others and help heal hurts.
- What action is this verse prompting you to do for someone else?
When the weather permits, grab your chalk and get outside to write or draw an encouraging message for someone else. You can write a Bible verse or kind words to BRIGHTEN someone’s day. We need to spread more love and kindness to one another! If it is too cold, you could write notes of encouragement and mail them to someone to BRIGHTEN their day!
Pray for pastors and church leaders in East Asia. There is much cultural pressure on time, godly marriages, and family relationships. Pray for perseverance, comfort and strength from the Lord, time in the Word, and courage to follow Christ in cultures increasingly unfriendly to Jesus.