“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 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.” (1 Peter 3:8-9, 12, AV)
One of the things my father instilled in me as a young boy was to respect my elders. I was to behave properly always and to be polite. It was a good lesson. It was not too long until I discovered that good behavior had a benefit. One such incident was when I spent time with my grandmother in Hightstown, New Jersey. It was primarily country at that time and her next-door neighbor lived about a quarter mile down the road. He was kind of a recluse, not having many friends, but we befriended him. I would visit with my grandmother on occasion and talk with her next-door neighbor.
He discovered that I was interested in engineering, drafting, and mechanics. He was a machinist, a tool and die maker. I really did not know much about machining and engineering for that matter. (My interest in these things was spurred on by my dad who was a design engineer in a company that made steam turbines.) It so happened that when my grandmother’s next-door neighbor died, he left me his machinist chest. It was one of his valued possessions, one that I still have today. The point is this. Behaving properly has a positive influence on others and results in a future blessing.
Believers are to have a certain pattern of behavior that is different from those outside the body of faith. Peter writes about it here. A believer’s life should be characterized by compassion and sympathy for others, brotherly love, tenderness, and courteousness. Believers are not to pay back evil with evil or verbal abuse with verbal abuse. Believers in doing what is right will not cause strife but be peace makers. Believers are called to bless others and not to curse.
From a human standpoint, it may be very difficult to tame the flesh when people provoke us and tempt us to retaliate. Yet, we are to stand our ground on heavenly principles and behave like children of God. At times, it may seem like a thankless journey. However, Peter tells us that there is a blessing for those who maintain a heavenly disposition. He stated that if we bless, we will receive a blessing in turn. He does not say exactly when believers will receive this blessing. However, he does quote from Psalm 34 telling us that the Lord sees our actions and He hears our prayers. This is a great blessing for each of us who lives as a child of the living God.
However, the Psalm Peter quoted goes on to say that “the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” It is a blessing that we have been delivered from the power of sin and its dominion over us. I would not want to be the person of whom the Lord has His face against.
Let us consider how to build relationships and bless others by living as citizens of heaven. Be peace makers rather than rabble rousers. Bless others and you too will be blessed.