June 25, 2011

Living With Others

1 Peter 3:8-14

All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8


Perhaps you identify with this statement, as I do: “I don’t mind Jesus; it’s his friends that drive me crazy.”

Who are Jesus’ friends? They are Republicans and Democrats, strong-willed employers and lazy employees, adulterous wives and unfaithful husbands, self-important leaders and fickle followers. Like you and me, they are consistently imperfect.

How is it possible to be sympathetic and compassionate while living with the sharp edges of another’s flaws? The words truth, test and trust may help.

The truth is that we are to love as Christ has loved, extending to others the very grace we receive from him. The test is whether our actions are Christlike. Even an appeal to pure motives is not an excuse to “repay evil with evil or insult with insult.” Finally, we are to trust the ways of Christ. Peter asks, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?” Even if some do us harm, at least we have been faithful to the proven ways of God.

We cannot control the insecurities or idiosyncrasies of others, and we should not fuel their fires of disharmony. Why not control our speech and actions, and trust God to deal with the actions of others?

Lord, I thank you for your forgiveness of my sin, and for your endless patience with my flaws and weaknesses. Help me to share with others the grace I have received from you. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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