“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, 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.” 1 Peter 3:8-9
Daily Devotional Series
Victory Over Suffering Day 7
Reading: 1 Peter 3:8-14
Sometimes, when I read a passage from the Bible, I wonder God has my house tapped. Every now and then I have to say something similar to the key verse to my boys with varying levels of volume. It just reinforces the fact that life with other human beings is the source of most of my aggravation. Part of the problem is me. I always see myself as right and others as wrong. Today’s word I want to focus on is “sympathetic.”
I like to listen to sports radio and this morning, Nick Hardwick, former Pro Bowl center for the San Diego Chargers. He spoke of how early in his career his goal wasn’t just to carry out the game plan but to physically hurt the person lined up across from him. This was the enemy. In hurting them, you increase your chances of winning. Then he got selected for his first Pro Bowl, honoring the best players in the game from all the different teams. The players would gather in Hawaii for an exhibition game after the season. At the Pro Bowl, Nick met the enemy for the first time off the field. He found out that, like him, they had stories, families, and goals. In that moment, he changed. He became sympathetic. He still went out and hit people to carry out the game plan, but no longer with the intent to hurt.
Too often we do the proverbial read the book by the cover. The cover is made up of clothes, possessions, facial expressions, height, width, social media presence, and all the things we see. But inside each cover is a story. Stories of comedy and drama (and melodrama!) Stories of challenges and triumph. We are part of each other’s stories as well. Do you want your part to be defined as “blessing” or “curse”? I hope blessing. If so, take Peter’s words to heart.