We Are To Have Unity With Each Other, And Above All, Unity With Christ!
Peter gives us a guideline for the proper ordering of the Christian life in verses 8-12 in his first letter. It appears deceptively simple in the abstract, but we know in our own lives how difficult it is to develop and to practice these habits. Verse 8 begins with a short list of the habits of a good Christian life: unity of mind (like mindedness), sympathy, brotherly love, tender heartedness (compassion), and finally, humility.
Our unity of mind, or like mindedness, is to be in our faith in Jesus Christ. We are to practice living in accord with the mind of Christ, which is in accord with the commandment of love. If we think in this way, if we speak and act in this way, it follows logically that we would understand and treat each other with mutual sympathy. This sympathy would be possible, because we would recognize our mutual weakness and need for each other’s support. It would follow, then, that our sympathy would be the byproduct of our brotherly love for one another. This depth of love would cause us to be compassionate with one another. And here is why. All of this will be possible only if we develop the holy virtue of humility. It is the virtue of humility that makes it possible for us to think alike, act out of sympathy, brotherly love, and compassion for one another. It is in humility that we finally realize that God’s love is shared equally toward all of us, that God’s love knows no partiality. If that is so about God’s love, then, it should be so about ours as well.
The next verse challenges us with a powerful admonition: “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.” (verse 9) When we willingly choose, on a daily basis, to practice the virtues of the Christian life, with the grace of God, we will be able “keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech.” We will finally be able, “to turn away from evil and to do good.” We will be empowered to seek peace and to pursue it” actively in all areas of our lives. It is when we choose humbly to develop these habits of the Christian life that we can be comforted in knowing that God will watch over us and hear our prayers. (verses 11-12)
Lord, we wish to be your true and faithful disciples in all things. We pray that you would swell our hearts with a growing love for you, and draw our wills toward holy humility, so that we might have more unity of mind, more sympathy, more love and compassion toward one another in all that we think, say and do. In Jesus’ most holy name we pray. Amen!
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