I PETER 3:8-9: “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Do you enjoy being blessed? Do you like receiving a compliment or a gift? Even though we may pretend that we don’t need these things, we all really do. If you doubt this, simply give someone a sincere compliment today and see how it enlightens their countenance. When you go out to lunch, let the waiter or waitress know that they are doing a superb job – and watch their face light up as they smile with gratitude. Everyone likes and needs to be blessed.
To “bless” is to bestow, to proclaim (speak), goodness and favor upon someone. Peter is very concerned that the churches he is writing to become places where blessing is the natural outflow of their Christian lives. We must realize that “blessing” is the desire and heart of God toward His people. In Jeremiah 29:11-14 the Lord conveys the true desire of HIs heart for His people when He proclaims:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV)
Also, we read in Deuteronomy:
“…I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:18-20 ESV)
It is God’s desire to bless His people, and for His people to be a blessing to others. Peter reminds us that this is not automatic. We must make some choices if we are to be a blessing. We must put the unity of the Spirit before our own rights or opinion. We must walk in humility toward others with an empathetic heart and true brotherly love. We must be tender hearted and open minded to receive from others and to honor their opinions and contributions. We must refrain from “getting even” or speaking ill of someone, even when they are in the wrong, or even when it would seem justified to do so. When Jesus was reviled, He did not answer back with a counter attack. We are called to be like Jesus. To put it another way, using the age old adage – “If we can’t say something nice or constructive about someone, we should not say anything at all!”
Why is this so important? Because we are called to reflect the heart of the Father toward others. Also, we will receive what we give. If we give blessing and encouragement – we will receive a harvest of blessing and encouragement. If we give out angry, critical, and judgmental words, we will receive the same. The principle of sowing and reaping applies in all areas of life, and especially in the area of blessing. If we want to be blessed, and we do – then we must learn to be a blessing! God’s heart and ears are attentive to the one who is a blessing to others!
“For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”” (1 Peter 3:10-12 ESV)
Lord, put a guard over my heart and mouth and – help me to be a blessing!
In Jesus Name!