Give A Blessing Instead
1 Peter 3:8 & 9 ESV/NASB
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
These are the instructions on how we ought to live with one another that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Peter to write down. They are for each and every one of us disciples of Christ, regardless of our position or status in life.
I must have unity of mind with other believers. Now this is challenging. We all think so differently, don’t we? How can I have unity of mind with other people when God has made all of our minds so different? Well, unity of mind is an agreement with others that goes beyond our own natural tendencies and personal preferences. Being of one mind means our belief, goal, vision and passion are all in the same direction. This spirit of agreement and unity is not mental nor passive, it requires expression; it is not merely a knowledge but is being acted out and practiced in our daily living. We must have a willingness and readiness to work together in unity for the Truth and Gospel of Jesus Christ, possessing a resolve to accomplish what God has for you, me and our church, even when we do not necessarily find ourselves agreeing with those around us in some things.
The apostle Peter goes on in 1 Peter 3:8 to mention sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.
I must have sympathy. When I see someone in need, I should not be avoiding him but be offering a helping hand. I must not harden my heart to the needs of others but understand and identify with their feelings. Selfishness is a barrier to genuine sympathy. It is impossible for me to be self-centered and sympathetic at the same time.
I must have brotherly love. I must put other people above me and show them love even if it is at my own expense or convenience. Extending brotherly love to others is to be a friend to them, doing life together with them.
I must have a tender heart. Compassion is a key trait in Jesus’ character. His compassion and tender-heartedness always move Him to heal and minister. I need to allow myself to be moved by the needs of others and be willing to step into their lives to touch them. A tender heart moves more than our emotions, it always moves us to action.
I must have a humble mind. I must recognize my utter dependence on God and not think of myself as being above any other person. I ought to be willing to put others in a position of greater importance than the importance I put on my own life.
Now, I imagine that I can develop unity, sympathy, love and humility when I am with an amiable person. However, when I aspire to live out all these traits, and sometimes even when I successfully display all these virtues, other people may not respond positively. What do I do when I live this way and someone speaks evil of me or does evil to me? How can I have sympathy and brotherly love for that person? My normal response would be to strike back or to return insult for insult.
But God directs us to another response. In 1 Peter 3:9, we learn that we are called to be a blessing to that person instead. We must still respond kindly and compassionately to that person. This is such a tough call, I know. But this is what God has called us into. It is God’s plan for His children. And when we choose to do these things, we will inherit a blessing, as we read in 1 Peter 3:9.
God does not want us to regard this as a conditional promise that says you bless in order to be blessed. But rather, God reminds us that it is a natural consequence. When you are encouraging and blessing others, you receive from the inheritance of riches and rewards God has already prepared for you. Very importantly, this inheritance includes the lost souls God has prepared for you to win for Christ.
What a beautiful and significant legacy you and I are building when we start to give a blessing.
Join me in this prayer.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that the love of Christ is greater than any differences among Your people and this love always binds all of us together. Renew my heart and spirit this day, I pray. Fill me afresh with Your love and compassion and let these purge out all pride and self-centeredness I harbor. I receive Your teaching today and commit to be always giving a blessing to others out of pure love for these people You place in my life. I thank You that as I bless others, I am availing myself to the rich inheritance You have prepared for me. Use me, Lord, to bring more lives into Your Kingdom to also receive this inheritance. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”