by Ellise Barker
1 Peter 3:8-9
"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude. 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 grant you his blessing."
If only the modern church lived by these principles. Instead of division, oneness. Instead of hatred, sympathy. If we are to truly follow Jesus’s plea to go and make disciples, we must live the way that Peter tells us in these verses. Peter speaks to the importance of unity within the church. Although we are each different and unique, we are all united under God and his word. Despite the great differences between us such as age, race, political affiliation, life experiences, etc, Peter calls us to remain as a united group of believers under the word of God. Otherwise, it will be impossible to create new disciples.
Therefore, arguments amongst believers must end. We must remember that our purpose is to create new disciples of God, not to argue with his current ones. The hardest part about loving others is to love them even when they wrong us. When we are able to show kindness and mercy to those that have wronged us, we are truly living like Jesus.
In Matthew 5, Jesus reminds us that it is easy to show love to those that love us, but the true test of faith is to love those that have wronged us. If a nonbeliever looks in at the church and sees vengeful, selfish, unkind people, he or she will never see the wonder of God in the church. We must look to Jesus as the ultimate example.
No matter our sin, Jesus loves and accepts us even when we look at him with hatred. Who are we to look down on others for their sins when Jesus forgave us for ours?