"of one mind": Devotional Commentary for July 31-August 6
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
8Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
9not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
"He who would love life And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit.
11"Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12"For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."
Many Christians struggle with the biblical concept of submission and deference even when it is known that it is to be done as unto the Lord. The strife intensifies even more between spouses and other closely related individuals such as: parents and children, employers and employees, teachers and students etc. Peter seems to be well enlightened on the matter by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and proceeds to clarify the earthly purpose of submission and deference, besides obeying God's Will.
Peter's exhortations imply that by being submissive, respectful, and amenable one can be less selfish and more caring toward others. In this way, it would be possible to be of one godly mind and live in harmony. It would be possible to do away with discord and contentious squabbles or differences. In other words, by being submissive, respectful, loving, caring, and understanding, we can be sympathetic toward each other, love one another, be mutually compassionate, and be courteous and tenderhearted toward each other because we would be truly humble, less self-serving, less greedy, less resentful, and less conceited.
As God's redeemed children blessed by His Grace and Mercy, the words and actions of Christians must be sacred vessels through which God's blessings would flow toward others. Instead of perpetuating evil by reciprocating in kind, believers are called to overcome evil with the blessings of God's Goodness.
Taking his cue from the Psalmist, Peter urges those who love their new life in Christ and rejoice in God's Goodness to restrain their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful talk. Not just resist evil and turn away from wickedness, but do godly things and pursue peace, following the example set for us by Jesus Christ. Peace and goodness are pleasing to God. They flow toward us out of His Grace and Glory.
God's Favor rests upon those who love His Goodness. He watches over the righteous and receives their prayers. But those who do evil face the visage of His wrath and displeasure. So we are exhorted to be amenable and caring, not only to nurture harmonious living, but also to be pleasing and obedient to God, to glorify His Name, and to honor His Son Who set the example for righteous and victorious living.
13And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?
14But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."
15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
16having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
17For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Speaking with candor and unwavering openness, Peter challenges believers to ascertain which
No harm can come upon God's children unless it is planned for a season to fulfill God's glorious Purpose. That is, only if it is God's Will. Even then, God's children are preserved without any enduring adverse consequences. Suffering for the sake of righteousness is, therefore, better than suffering because of evildoing. And therefore as Christians, we should never be discouraged by evil's defunct threats from doing good.
Instead, as the redeemed of God, we should be all the more drawn to God and give the reason for our hope in Jesus Christ. This we must do without fear but with a humble spirit, recognizing God's blessing in being found worthy to suffer for His sake. Those who defame the redeemed and ridicule our good conduct in Christ would drown in shame when they observe our perseverance with clear and good conscience. Even our enemies would be at peace with us when the Lord is pleased to see His Goodness in us conquer evil and its perpetrators.
One can safely assume that it is obvious to most believers that Peter's inspired outlook about Christian living is not an object of human attainment by human means. He exhorts Christians not to react in kind to the hostile world but to respond with God's Goodness. That is contrary to our natural inclinations.
To be sure, the question is not just about contrariety to our nature, but our deeply entrenched wayward perspective which we must abandon so that the realities of our lives would match the substance of our faith as the Spirit of Truth instilled it in our redeemed hearts. Our example is Jesus Christ. We are no longer committed to our natural inclinations. We belong to God. The world does not have any hold over us.
Our identity has changed. We are Christians, the followers of Christ. Because of His finished work on the Cross, we have been declared just and right by our Father, God the Almighty. We are priests of the Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, the beloved of God. Therefore, our conduct is governed by God's revealed precepts, no longer by the natural inclinations of our old nature.
The hostile actions of the world should never trigger our responses or reactions. We live, move, and have our being only in God because we are His children. We do not live to assert ourselves for our own sake. We live to glorify God and to further His Kingdom.
Therefore, we live in harmony notwithstanding our malicious prejudices. We are sympathetic and tenderhearted toward one another in spite of our dying selfish flesh. We are compassionate toward one another in spite of our greed and resentment. We are submissive, respectful, amenable, loving, caring, and understanding as unto the Lord, because we know God's merciful eyes are on the righteous of Christ and His ears are always inclined to our prayers. Following our enabling example Jesus Christ Who denied Himself even to death on the Cross in obedience to His Father's Will, we deny ourselves and surrender our person and behavior to the Holy Spirit by Whose Power we are able to conquer evil with God's Goodness.