Peter calls the believer to be a blessing to those they encounter. “Have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (verse 8).
These attributes are a blessing to all who encounter them, either on the receiving or the giving end. Those who are treated to brotherly kindness or sympathy receive a precious gift. In our “me” world, there isn’t a lot of brotherly kindness being shown.
Today, while I was leaving a parking lot, I had to go through the pedestrian crossing area. I waited for several people to cross and then proceeded through. One man came out as I was in the middle of the walkway. Instead of stopping for him I finished going through the walkway. He intentionally hit the rear door area of my car, with either his hand or basket, to show his displeasure with me not stopping for him. Instead of me being “tender hearted” towards him and realizing that he was probably having a bad day, I said a few choice words, while proceeding on my way. I even thought of confronting him for his actions. Neither of us was showing much brotherly love at that time.
Our flesh, or sin nature, is opposed to the traits Peter is telling us to show. But because we have given our lives to Him, it is part of our “calling.” These are attitudes we are to engage in at all times. God calls us to be transformed into Jesus’ image. He showed these attributes in His life on a daily basis. We are to strive to be more like Him every day.
Solomon, with all the wisdom and insight God gave him, recognized how valuable it is to do good. Peter quotes one of his proverbs here. Solomon was speaking to ANYONE who wanted a better life, not just to the Jews who were seeking after God.
This is good advice for all but especially important for the believers. Our attitude towards others can get in the way of our prayers to God. When teaching His disciples how to pray Jesus stressed that if we had something against our brother to leave our sacrifice where it was and go deal with the problem. Our attitude and actions matter!
Peter also made a promise to his readers. We are told that even if the world doesn’t appreciate our good works, our Father God sees and will bless us. We may not see the full blessing this side of Heaven but we KNOW He is watching and rewards those who follow His commands.
In the time Peter was writing this, many of the Christians were being wronged for doing good. They were being persecuted and often put to death. But death held no power over them. Being with God was their ultimate reward. It still is for us today. “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy” (verses 14-15a).
I LOVE this next part! “Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience” (verse 15b-16a). To me, this says to live a quiet life doing the deeds Jesus would. When asked why I do good instead of “trying to get even” or “putting others down to get ahead”, I can share Jesus with them. BUT I don’t do so by standing on the street corner and yelling at people. John the Baptist was called to do that, but I’m not. I am to share my love for Him with those asking with “gentleness and respect.” I may not have the perfect answer for everyone who asks but hopefully my actions will speak for me when my words fail.
Don’t expect everyone to “ooh” and “aah” your life because of all the good you do. Jesus ONLY did good and they killed Him for it. It is worth whatever it costs to be like Him; even when it costs your own desire for revenge.
Father God, forgive me for how I reacted to the situation. Thank You for keeping me from making a mockery of my witness by stopping to confront the man. Forgive me too for not being courteous enough to stop for him in the first place. I probably should have. Help me Lord Jesus to show Your love better in my daily life, no matter the cost (including time). I want to be more like You every day. Remind me to keep this desire front and center in my heart and mind at ALL times; not just when I come to You for study time. Bless the man I encountered yesterday. Not for his actions towards me but because he probably needs some peace too. Thank You that You love me in spite of my flaws and You love him too. Help me always do the same.