The Gift of Community
Read 1 Peter 3:8–14
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 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. For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
Now Peter directs his attention to all Christians and the way they are to treat one another. He calls for unity, sympathy, love, compassion, and humility, all attitudes that build community. He says to promote peace and blessing even to those who attack or do evil. Of course, these ideas come from Jesus (Matthew 5:38–42) and were carried forward by His disciples, including Peter, John, and Paul. Is this kind of community possible in our divisive and divided world and culture?
- How would you describe your Christian community? Who is part of it? Which of the descriptors Peter identifies do you see in that community? Which ones are missing?
- How would you describe the Christian community as a whole? How are you contributing to that community so it looks like the community Peter describes? In what ways do you find yourself causing harm to that community by your words, attitudes, or responses to others?
- What is God seeking to draw your attention to through today’s passage?
God, thank You for the gift of Christian community and for the blessing it is to be around others who love You and seek to follow You. Help me to bring forward and encourage the elements of community Peter identifies. May I always seek unity and peace. May my words, attitudes, and actions be loving and compassionate. May I seek to understand and show sympathy even when I don’t actually understand. May I act with humility toward fellow Christians and with grace toward even those who seek to harm me. And may I only ever bless anyone I come into contact with. Amen.