I Peter 3:8-11
Today, I would like to look at peace with those around us. When we can live with our interpersonal relationships at peace, we can focus on other matters. When our relationships are disturbed it can consume everything we do. Think of how you feel when you were in a fight with your spouse before heading to work, or how you feel if you and a coworker have an unresolved conflict when you leave to go home. Those feelings often spread to the innocent people in our lives; creating even more conflict. Please read I Peter 3:3-8 and pray that God would speak to your heart.
I love verse 3! It truly is a gem full of wonderful wisdom for how we are to live with others: “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” This just seems like the perfect formula to living with others in peace. First, I want to focus on the word harmony. Being a musician, I feel compelled to explain that harmony is not playing the same note at the same time; rather, it is playing different tones that fit with each other. God made us all different, but we need to use those differences to make beautiful music. You have to admit, if music was only melody with no harmony, it would be boring to listen to. Our differences can be wonderful together because we all have different gifts.
I want to look at sympathy. When we can look at a circumstance that someone is going through and understand that we don’t see the entire picture; we can step aside from noticing the inconveniences we may feel and see how we can help the other person. When I was a secretary in a school, I would get yelled at by parents for things that had absolutely nothing to do with me only because I was the first person in the line of fire. When I could step back and consider that maybe there were other things going on in the person’s life than the interaction I was having with them, I was able to be sympathetic and recognize that they were having a bad day and I didn’t need to pile more irritation to their day. Sympathy promotes peace.
I find it interesting that love keeps coming up even as we look at other fruits. Love is a foundation upon which everything is built. When we love others, peace follows. Love will always have us look at the other person’s feelings and not just our own. Compassion allows us to step aside and see how the person may be hurting and move into action. Compassion brings action that promotes healing and peace. Humility is important because it allows us to think of others before our own pride. Humility allows us to recognize when we may have wronged another person and make amends. Humility also allows us to forgive when others have hurt us.
Jesus taught about settling things with others in Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” The importance of harmony with others is so important that it can affect our worship. Let us apologize when we have done wrong and forgive one another. This is critical in our growth with God.
Are you showing love, compassions, sympathy and humility which will allow you to live in harmony with those around you?