1 Peter 3:8 – “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
Sometimes in the Bible the words are difficult to interpret and it is left up to the individual reading it to dig deeper in the scriptures and to seek God for an interpretation. This isn’t one of those verses – it is very clear. Being like-minded was the only thing that kind of had me searching for a clearer definition. The Amplified version says to “be one and of the same mind (united in spirit)”. That, I get. It means (to me) that we are to see the purpose of furthering God’s kingdom with the same goal in mind – to bring others to Him.
The other attributes, however, are pretty straight-forward – we are to be sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble. We know what these attributes mean, but they can be much more difficult to put into practice. They are easy enough to accomplish if all is going well and people are behaving and doing what we think they should, but they can often go flying out the window when we are hurt by someone or someone is doing something we feel is wrong. I heard something once that has stuck with me. The saying went something like this – “Christians are the worst at eating their own”. Say for instance, a couple in your church is living together, or a young woman is pregnant and not married, or someone else is battling with homosexuality or pornography. Instead of being sympathetic, we judge. Instead of being loving, we gossip. Instead of being compassionate, we turn our backs. Instead of being humble, we run others down and puff ourselves up. This is how things usually go – not always and not with everyone, but usually.
I’m not saying it is easy and it may require us to take a step back the next time someone hurts us or we see something we don’t like and think about this verse. And if we, or someone we love, were in a difficult situation (even of our own doing) wouldn’t we want others to treat us with sympathy, love, compassion and humility?