Righteousness - Includes Sympathy, Brotherly Love, Compassion - Peter 3:8
June 27, 2023, 8:29 AM

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”

Righteousness is not just a position we have, clean before God, but a demonstration of Christ-likeness in the world around us. These characteristics mentioned are not possible without relationships. We need other people to be affected by your sympathy, love, and compassion.

means to feel with another. It is entering into their feeling world in joy and in sorrow. We send sympathy greetings when we hear of someone’s loss. We want let someone know we care. We feel saddened with them in their sadness. We want to help them by encouragement with their experience of sadness. The closer we get to someone as a friend the deeper the feelings. Love does that.

As a chaplain I may not know the person I am visiting, but I can sympathize in their loss only as I recall the pain of anyone losing a loved one, but each responds in different ways to loss. As a pastor, meeting in the home of folks I am close with, I understand better the dynamic of the relationships and life history and how it affects the family to see that person suffer or die. I sympathize in a much deeper level.

Wm. Barkey says "Sympathy and selfishness cannot co-exist. It is only when we die to self that we can live to others. Sympathy comes to the heart when Christ reigns within the heart.”

We cannot feel with another very well without brotherly love. Remember the new commandment Jesus gave to His disciples. It is the command to love one another. “If a man says ‘I love God’ and hates his brother he is a liar."

Many churches have split over the use of praise choruses in place of hymns. They were not exhibiting compassion to one another. They were gathering into groups to argue with one another according to their styles and tastes of songs. People that love one another and have the other’s interest and spiritual growth in mind seek harmony and humility. It is not of the Spirit to say, “If you don't do it my way there is something wrong with you.”.

Compassion moves our attention to those who need encouragement and demonstration of love. Giving to the needy, helping the orphan, providing food to the hungry, giving a cup of cold water to those in need, visiting the sick, and helping those who need help are practical ways, shows compassion. When someone loses a home or job or has an emergency, compassion seeks to join with them in their need. That's what Jesus did.

Being compassionate is not just the activities we do, but being accepting in love, especially among the brothers and sisters who are one in the Spirit. When we treat others as family members, that is the image Peter presents as living righteously.

Application: Ask God to show you a way to show compassion to someone today.

Prayer: Lord, I want to be Your hands and Your feet to those You put in my path. Create in me a right heart O God that I might see others through Your eyes.