“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
We all desire to live a good life. We desire to enjoy life and have a complete and abundant life. We desire to embrace life and to love life. Peter tells us that if we are to love life, then there is a certain way that we should live. In our text we find eight principles to having a life that you can love.
Live in unity. In verse eight we are encouraged to be of one mind. This is in reference to how we are to live in relation to other believers. It is difficult to really love and enjoy life when there is a lack of unity within the family of God. Unity is found in our common belief in the infallible Word of God. It is the scriptures that unite us and our love for each other is the glue that holds us together. There are certain essential doctrines that we must agree on in order to have unity. In those nonessential areas we must simply agree to disagree and give each other grace. Christians should never allow nonessential issues to divide them. The only time there is cause for division is when there is disagreement concerning essential doctrines. Unity comes at a great price. We must put aside our personal pride and unite around those essential doctrines that we believe in. It is through such unity that the church is able to fulfill its purpose in this world.
Have compassion. How much do we really care for one another? Are we concerned for each other’s walk with God? Do we have compassion toward those who are weak? Having compassion toward one another takes our minds off of ourselves. When our entire life is wrapped around pleasing our self, we become miserable. However, when we care for others, we find fulfillment in life. There is something satisfying about caring for other people. This satisfaction comes from Jesus who cares for us. Just as Jesus had compassion on us, we too should have compassion toward each other.
Love as brothers. As believers in Christ, we are one family. Therefore, we are to love one another as family. We may not always agree or get along, however, we have a love for each other because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Have you ever traveled somewhere and met another believer in Christ? You don’t know each other, yet because of your common belief in Jesus, you have a love for that person the moment you meet them. Why do Christians love each other so much? How do Christians show love toward other believers whom they have never even met? It is because of the love of Christ that is within us. The love of Jesus flows through us and produces in us a natural love for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
Be humble. Prideful people often lack joy. One of the common characteristics of those who really love life is the fact that they have a humble spirit. The word ‘pitiful’ in the King James Version basically means to be sympathetic and tenderhearted. Living in such a way requires that we are concerned for the needs of others. As believers in Christ we are to have a humble spirit. We are to put others ahead of ourselves. We are to put away our pride and practice humility.
Be courteous. It is difficult to truly love and enjoy life if you are not kind to others. If you have a grumpy attitude all the time and are constantly rude toward others, then your life will not be very joyous. Those who really love life will be friendly and kind toward others. As Christians, we should be the friendliest people in all the world. We should be considerate of others no matter what the situation.
Bless those who hurt you. In verse nine, Peter mentions that we are not to give evil for evil. In other words, we should not seek revenge. Instead of giving evil for evil, we are to give a blessing to those who hurt us. The scripture teaches us that we are to love everyone, including our enemies. When you retaliate against those who hurt you, all it does is elevate the situation and results in more pain. The best way to deal with someone who gives you a hard time is to go out of your way to be kind to them. In doing so, you will calm the situation and bring less grief and stress upon yourself. In order to really love and enjoy life, we must bless those who hurt us rather than seeking revenge.
Speak Wisely. Verse ten is a classic. In order for us to love life and see good days, we must refrain our lips from evil and deceit. I love how practical the Bible is. This principle makes perfect sense. If we are constantly speaking evil and spreading lies, our life will be miserable. However, if we are wise in how we speak and keep ourselves from speaking evil and lies, then we will have less stress and issues to deal with and our life will be so much better. Most of the trouble we get ourselves into comes from the words that we say. If we can learn to control our tongues and speak only what is good and wholesome rather than words that are hurtful we would be so much better off. To really love life, we must speak wisely.
Refrain from evil and seek peace. The final principle for having a full and abundant life that you can love is to refrain from evil and seek peace. This is found in verse eleven. Sin and evil is the opposite of peace. To really have peace in your life, you must remove all of the sin that hinders you. Therefore, we must hate evil. We must stay as far away from sin as we possibly can. As we do, we will have peace with God and with each other. Think about it. When you are struggling with sin, your life is a wreck. There is no happiness in sin. There is no fulfillment in sin. There is no peace in sin. If you want to have a life of peace, then you must live a life free of sin.
In verse twelve we see that God is watching us. He sees everything we do. It is His desire to reward His children and bless them. It is His desire to answer our prayers. However, in order to have God’s blessing and to really enjoy and love life, we must live life the way God intends for us to live it.