Devotional: September 1, 2020
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
First Peter 3: 8-9 The Message
Be agreeable. This opening phrase from the summary statement of First Peter 3 tells us that we are to be delightful and pleasant. In today’s world, being disagreeable feels like an easy emotion to fall into. We see it gaining popularity in the media. Instead, whenever possible, we need to do everything within our means to be agreeable.
Be sympathetic. This one is huge for our culture. We are called to be compassionate, and show support for another person’s hardship. However, that emotion is often held for those who have a like-minded view of the world. Many people have sympathy for those who see things from a similar perspective, but they hold back their sympathy from those with differing opinions. True sympathy involves looking at things from another person’s perspective, even if you disagree with it. When we are sympathetic to someone, our goal is not to change them, but to understand.
Be loving. Love needs to be the core of all we do and say as Christians. If we are living out Christ’s call, we must follow His direction when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down their life for a friend.”
Be compassionate. Compassion involves us feeling empathy, concern and understanding toward another person's situation. It is being sensitive to whatever they are going through. Feel for those who have suffered. Then express that compassion through meaningful actions. Remember Jesus’ conclusion to the Great Parable of Judgement: “Master, when did we see you naked, and clothe you?” Jesus replied, “Inasmuch as you clothed one of the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you clothed me.” True compassion is more than just a feeling. It is meaningful action as well.
Be humble. This involves not thinking too highly of yourself. We should not puff ourselves up by being putting others down. Being humble involves being respectful, and not thinking too highly of yourself. Clothed in humility, you are willing to listen and to learn. You want to understand, and may even find yourself admitting you were wrong. It means a focus on others, more than upon yourself.
No sarcasm. Much of what passes for humor in our society has a tinge of sarcasm in it. The word “sarcasm” has the root meaning of cutting the flesh, or flesh-eating. Sarcasm scores laughs at the expense of others. It is an often-used humor, and is sometimes a bit passive-aggressive in the process. It may come across as good-natured, but the irony is that the person it is directed towards often feels hurt or even angry. Avoid it.
Be a blessing. This is the call of Christ to all of us. We are called to be a blessing, because Jesus has blessed us. It is a divine and hallowed instruction on how we need to behave. When we bless others, we also find ourselves being blessed in the process. It is a win-win! May we live up to this Holy calling…
Loving and Holy God,
We find ourselves in a world filled with pain, disappointments, and challenges. It can sometimes feel very comfortable to just go along with the hurtful behavior of the world. Yet You call us to find compassion and sympathy in our hearts for our others, both those we know and those we don’t. Help us to sow seeds of love and hope into the soil of people’s lives. May we bless others, as You have blessed us, touching us to the core of our being. We pray this prayer in the name of Your son, who came that we might have life, Jesus Christ. Amen.