As the title of this post suggests, I want to ask readers and myself a question. And the way I am using the first person plural pronoun is not “the royal we.” The royal we is usage of the plural by royalty (usually the king or queen) to refer to one person. My usage of “we” refers to all of us.
Last night in preparing for my high school Bible class I read through the New Testament letter of I Peter. And as many times as I have read it before, I never noticed that each of the five chapters has a similar instruction and challenge for fellow believers in the church. The more I have thought about these verses, it seems to me they are pertinent not just with fellow believers in the church, but to a variety of groups both in the church and beyond.
Here are the verses:
I Peter 1:22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
I Peter 2:17b, “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers.”
I Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
I Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
I Peter 5:5b, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.”
Those are some powerful notes of challenge and instruction, aren’t they? Not only that, wouldn’t you agree they should not be limited to Christians and church members?
I not only want to treat my fellow church members like this; I also want to treat my extended family, my non-church going friends, the guys with whom I play golf, and lots of other people in my life. I hope as well that they too would treat me likewise.
Here’s why I think these five verses from the five chapters of I Peter raised the question in my mind, “How are we doing?” In general, I don’t think we are doing as well as we should be doing. Too many times I observe what appears to me as a lack of proper respect. Rather than clothing ourselves with humility and being humble, we are arrogant. And I note occasions where love does not cover wrongs, but grudges are held.
The question is “How are we doing?” and we includes me. I can do better, and my sense is so could everyone who reads this. I’m going to use my reading of I Peter last night, and noting the instruction and challenge, to be more intentional about putting it into practice. Perhaps you will join me?
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