” Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers [and sisters], be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. I Peter 3 : 8,9
God is love, and as God’s children we’re expected to imitate and emulate Him in every aspect of our lives. Anyone who claims to love God but has hatred towards another is a liar (1Jn 4:20)
John’s definition of a child of God is “anyone who loves sincerely and knows God“(1Jn 4:7).
Peter also exhorts believers on how to live and dwell together. He first mentions the word “harmony”.
The dictionary definition of harmony is
“a situation in which people live and work well with other people , and in a way that does not damage things around them”.
The Greek word used here is omophrones , indicating unity of thought and feeling. It goes beyond just living together in peace ; we are to think as one person , to feel for one another as though we are the other person – to empathize with one another.
From Greek, omos – one; phren – mind.
We’re to act collectively with the same mind.
Peter further talks about being sympathetic. Our concept of the word is reactive since we feel sympathy for those who are suffering in one way or the other. In other words we feel sorry for “them”, but it’s not about us. It also limits the situation to only one of sorrow.
The Greek sympatheis suggests otherwise. It is about being compassionate of one another , an interchange of fellow -feeling in joy or sorrow.
Then we are to love as brothers and sisters, as one family, bound by blood; that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are also to be humble , to be willing to place others first above ourselves, to deem them as equally competent or better, and to be willing to defer to them .
In the unavoidable event of offences, Peter teaches us how to handle it.
If one of us wrongs another, the victim is not to “go to war” against the offender. Instead, s/he should endeavour to restore the unity by behaving as a true member of God’s family by reflecting His nature of love. A retaliatory spirit is the greatest enemy of omophrones; like-mindedness, therefore, all true Christians should live retaliation -free lives where evil or negatively provocative behaviour is concerned. That will mean that we are to have a forgiving attitude towards one another.
Finally, we’re called to inherit a blessing , and therefore, we have no business cursing or depriving a fellow believer of being blessed. We are never to pronounce curses on others because we don’t have it in us. We are programmed for blessings, never curses.
Our behavior should be as true offspring of the God of love.