Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” NIV

‘’Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.’’ The Message.

I appreciate that some who read these notes will be living alone. My heart goes out to you, especially if you’re finding it extra hard at the moment. But these words do apply to you, and you will be given many challenging opportunities in life to practice this teaching with people who live beyond your four walls:

‘’That goes for all, no exceptions’’.

 Nevertheless, please will you bear with me while I say a word to couples and families? It’s just this: that the behaviour Peter advocates is not merely a recipe for harmony in the local church. It starts at home, and arguably that may be (at least for some) the most difficult place to do this. These days of ‘lock-down’ could well have compounded the problems. But remember, in the early church, many Christian congregations would be located in homes, and made up of extended families. This teaching very much applies to home life.

But, thankfully, Peter does not envisage anyone having to live this way under their own steam – as we shall see.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I once heard that home is ‘the place where we are treated the best, and behave the worst.’ I pray this will not be true of my home, but with your help, let it be a place of harmony, peace and true Christian fellowship.