"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
“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 (NIV)
I was thinking about all the vitriol, shaming, bullying, name calling, and general hostility that is seen on Facebook and the Twitter-verse. It’s a shame that we can’t have a difference of opinion anymore without the negativity that has been added to it. What is it they say, “If you can’t win the argument, then go after the character of the other person.” I don’t get it, really.
The Scripture above is from the Apostle Peter. Of all the disciples, he is the one who was quick to speak off the top of his head...open mouth and insert foot. (We’ve all been there at some point.) So, I think it’s interesting that Peter is the one giving this sage advice. You know this wasn’t his normal, or former, personality. He has been a work in progress throughout the Gospels. It appears he may have finally arrived.
That’s the thing. Under Peter’s normal inclinations, he was brash and abrasive, ready to fight. It seems there has been a change in his persona. Hey, if it can happen to him, it can happen to me and you. But what has caused this seismic shift in how he interacts with other people? Jesus, of course. But, also. the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit invades us and works within us once we have given ourselves over, completely, to Jesus. We have surrendered ourselves to be used as vessels for His Kingdom. With that comes a change of heart, one of stone has been made flesh. We are more compassionate, more thoughtful, more, more, more...loving.
It’s difficult to live in harmony with one another, unless we have His Holy Spirit to assist us. I think Peter probably still had issues here and there. He was, after all, still human. As he wrote this, I wonder if he was shaking his head and saying to himself, “I can’t believe how profound that is!” I can relate to this. As I write articles and sermons, I see the Holy Spirit take control, giving me thoughts that are above mine...way above. I’ll usually have Dona read over most things that I write because, well, she’s very good grammatically, and, even though I’m better than I used to be, I still miss things here and there. But I am truly amazed at what happens from the time I sit down to write a message and the time I’m done. It may take a different turn from what I thought it was going to be, but it hasn’t been something I had to go back and start from scratch. As I sit back and read it over, I just thank God for the words that came together. Peter may have done the same thing. It’s not him; it is the Holy Spirit inspiring him to write. (No, I’m not putting myself in the same category, but I do have the same Holy Spirit.)
Let me say one other thing. Dona had a fall this morning as I wrote this, hitting her head. For a few minutes, she had me really scared, and that’s not something that happens to me. I feared I might lose her. I know several of you have gone through those losses already, and I sympathize with you. So my final thought is that we need to always be thanking God for our blessings. Too often, we can find something to criticize. It’s easy to do that. However, dig down and thank God for even the simplest things in life. Life, itself, is a blessing. And to have others around to share that life is double the joy. Don’t hate your enemy; love them. You have a problem with someone in the fellowship or in the neighborhood? Bless them and encourage them to be better this year...even if it’s just in your prayers.
God bless and Happy New Year.