If you've ever parented a toddler, you know what their catchphrase is, right? "Mine!" While that's expected of toddlers, it's certainly not okay for believers in Christ. As followers of Jesus, our watchword isn't mine, but yours; not me, but you; and not self, but others.
As we live out that attitude on the stage of this world, unbelievers take notice. And it could be that we are so compelling in the way we treat one another that we actually attract those unbelievers to Jesus Christ.
So how are we to treat one another, practically speaking? The apostle Peter wrote, "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous" (1 Peter 3:8). Let's break down this five-fold attitude:
1. "Be of one mind," or, as some translations say, be like-minded (see John 17:21). Like-mindedness is not you agreeing with me about everything; it's cooperating in the midst of diversity. We can disagree about secondary issues as long as we all agree on the core, essential doctrines of Christianity.
2. "Having compassion for one another." The Greek word for compassion literally means to feel the same thing—to have sympathy. The best definition I've ever found for sympathy is this: your hurt in my heart. In other words, we can't be callous toward one another; we're to share our joys and our sorrows (see Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 12:26).
3. "Love as brothers." I grew up with three older brothers, and while I do love them, this text doesn't necessarily make me think of some high ideal. A better translation would be: "Love one another as brothers should love." This is one of the proofs that you and I are saved (see 1 John 3:14).
4. "Be tenderhearted." A literal translation of this is: "Have good bowels." Yes, you read that right. Two thousand years ago it was believed that the deepest emotions a person feels are in the intestinal region. So this essentially means "Be deeply concerned for others." The church ought to be a place where the walking wounded feel at home because of how great we are at being tenderhearted toward one another.
5. "Be courteous," or as other translations say, be humble-minded. Put simply, humility is the grease that keeps the gears of relationships running smoothly.
This beautiful five-fold attitude of the believer can be summed up in one word: love. We're by no means faultless, but we are forgiven, and we prove this by showing Christ's love to one another, to the hurting and the unlovely alike. That's how we'll attract unbelievers to our sweet Savior.
Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." There really is a sweetness and beauty about the character of Jesus, whom we love and serve. I pray that, like Him, we would be compassionate, tenderhearted, humble-minded, and loving this week, especially as we commemorate and celebrate His death and resurrection in the midst of an unbelieving world.