SOAP Devotional 2014-04-18
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. (1 Peter 3:8, 9 NLT)
There are instructions for how we are to treat fellow believers. We are told to think alike and in other places in scripture we see that we are supposed to think like Christ does. We are to sympathize with the sorrows of each other, love one another as our own brothers and sisters, have a tender heart, and keep a humble attitude with each other. When they do us wrong, we are not to try to get even, nor do we return insults to them if they insult us. When we are done wrong or insulted, we bless them instead. That is what God has called us to do and he will by his mercy give us his blessings for doing the right thing.
Notice first that these things are what God intends for us to do. They are not optional. And notice secondly that God grants us a blessing for doing them. Nothing like getting a blessing for doing what we are supposed to do anyway. When it comes to our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we are to have the same mindset and that is the mindset of Christ and he had a mind to serve the brethren. When a brother or sister goes through sorrow, we are there for them. We keep a tender heart toward them and never allow our hearts to be hardened. We stay humble and do not try to exalt ourselves above others. Here is the interesting part of this passage, it talks about out brothers and sisters doing us wrong (doing evil) or insulting us. We are instructed to bless them rather than retaliating with the same treatment back to them that they give to us. These ways of behaving are what God has called us to do. In reality, this is who we are as new creations in Christ. To behave any differently is to rebel against God's will for our lives.
Father, I will admit that at times I am tempted to think harshly about brothers or sisters who do me wrong or speak insultingly toward me. Help me to always resist that temptation and behave in a way that glorifies you. Let me, instead, bless those who may do me wrong or speak wrong about me. Let me not only operate according to your will, but let my thoughts about them be proper.