24 July 2019
Reading: Isaiah 40-42; 1 Peter 3
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving each other with tender hearts and humble minds. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. (1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT)
Be full of sympathy toward each other. Sympathy means:
• Harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.
• Sharing the feelings of another, especially in sorrow or trouble; fellow feeling, compassion, or commiseration.
• Sympathies: feelings or impulses of compassion; feelings of favor, support, or loyalty.
Then there’s verse 9!
“Don’t repay hurt for hurt. No ‘eye for an eye.’ Don’t get even. Don’t retaliate. Pay back cursing with a blessing.”
Be full of sympathy. God wants us to share other people’s feelings. To actually put ourselves in their place, see through their eyes, walk in their shoes, feel their joys and their sorrows, experience their successes and their disappointments.
• I can’t be full of sympathy and full of critical judgment at the same time. It’s one or the other.
• I can’t be full of sympathy unless I take the time to put myself in another’s place, and that means getting to know them so I can understand them.
God sets the bar so high that it’s impossible without Jesus living on the inside of us and the Spirit’s power working in us. Did you get that? Impossible without Jesus!
Father, I know I can’t do this without your Spirit working in me! I do care about people and I am making some progress at putting myself in their place instead of merely judging their words or actions from a distance. It really does take more time and a lot of effort to live this way with people. Help me slow down and learn each person’s story before I make a judgment. And may my every judgment come from a heart of sympathy, tenderness, and humility. Amen.