To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit
— 1 Peter 3:8 —
David Beakley: Christ Seminary | South Africa
Loving and caring for others is a difficult task. It is even worse when it is a command and the “others” don’t particularly care for your love. But when it is done out of joy, the world takes note. When Peter told his readers “to sum up” in this verse, he was summing up his instructions that were very pointed and directed toward fellow believers in submitting to bad governments, bad employers, and bad marital relationships. How might you demonstrate loving submission, kindness of heart, and humility of spirit to those around you today? And, if that were not bad enough, Peter gave this call of submission to people who were already suffering and experiencing persecution for their faith! How is this possible? South Africa is a very complex country, with a complex history that has been checkered with oppression, strife, and hypocrisy—largely in the name of the “state” church, which at the time was professing evangelical. In 1994, the government changed and the servant was now the master. Needless to say, there was a backlash against “White Christianity.” But, when a student-pastor from Christ Seminary understood these words from Peter, and saw a converted “enemy” from the previous regime, he went to meet his foe only to discover a brother. After they discovered and rejoiced in their “unity of mind,” they both preached together in a Township church to a full house. The result was a testimony that resounded throughout the country. A secular and polarized culture was now hearing—and intrigued by—the gospel message of peace from two unlikely brothers. How might you demonstrate loving submission, kindness of heart, and humility of spirit to those around you today?