Read 1 Peter 3:8-12."He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it." NIV
Peter speaks a lot about purity and turning away from evil. He talks about it in our relationship with God, with the authorities over us, in our marriages, and now in our relationships with each other. He admonishes us to do good, not evil.
What are ways we can have good relationships?
Live in harmony with one another: This kind of living requires looking out for the other person more than you look out for yourself. I just finished The Shack. Although I don't agree with everything in the book, it's a great read and thoughtful concepts on the Trinity and our place in the world. But in the book, the Trinity work together so beautifully because there is no power struggle. They are each looking out for the other's interests. That is the kind of relationship we should be having with one another.
Be sympathetic: I see grace coming in here. Whether it's sympathy for someone going through a hard time and needing comforting or it's ignoring harsh words directed at us and not about us. Again, this takes not saying to yourself, "What did I do to deserve that?" But trying to see life from another person's perspective and really understanding what they are going through. This one's tough because we tend to look at life through our eyes only. But a follower of Christ saved by grace needs to be denying self and extending grace whenever possible. Sympathy for a brother's situation is the beginning of building a strong relationship.
Love as brothers: Family. The body of Christ is a family. We watch out for family. We love them dearly. Even the most distant cousin is not a stranger to us -- they're family.
Be compassionate and humble: Here is where guarding the tongue can come in. Often we want to lash out with judgment against one another's actions or attitudes. It's easy to do. When we are not in the situation, our perspective can be clearer in distinguishing God's ways from man's ways. But with compassion and humility, we guard our tongue and speak in love and gentleness to one another. It doesn't mean we never speak "truth" into one another's lives. That is needed in a family. But it is done out of love and humility, not frustration and anger. Your brother may lash out at you, but never repay "evil for evil or insult with insult, but with a blessing."
Turning from evil and doing good is not easy. Only through the power of the Father can we walk humble and pure lives for His glory. Resist the power struggle. Shun the selfish desires. Put away the "me" filter and see others the way God sees them.
- Every time I want to find an exemplary person in the OT for doing good and for not repaying evil for evil I always come back to Joseph. He was an amazing man and knew how to live relationships through every step of his life -- wherever he was at. (Well, once he got past bragging to his brothers that they would one day bow down to him. But he was just a naive kid then. He had to grow up fast.) Reread about Joseph and list the relationships he had and how he exemplified a holy lifestyle.
- Is there someone or someones you have difficulty relating to. Pray for them and try applying the above principles for one week. Then record what happens.