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.  1 Peter 3:8-9, MSG

The Bible may have scriptures that are tricky to understand, but this reference from 1st Peter is not one of them. It’s pretty clear that human behavior is of interest to God, and He has some definite ideas about the ways we are meant to treat one another. I suppose we might imagine this list of behaviors isn’t all that difficult, but if we meditate on the key words here, we might be surprised to discover this list may well be perfect…for you and me.

Be agreeable. Contrary to what it may seem, this word doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other. It simply means that you have to be willing to listen, to hear each other out, and to give each other the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas. You respect each other and you do it with grace and kindness. If this describes you, then bravo! It’s a pleasure to be around you.

Be sympathetic. A person with a sympathetic heart always seeks a place where mutual understanding may exist and be nurtured. It’s safe to offer consolation and open the door for greater communication. It’s more than feeling like a kindred spirit. It’s the part of you that recognizes you may have to bring your heart into the discussion. 

Be loving. Chances are this is the one that rings your bell. After all, you are gracious and giving, considerate and thoughtful. All of these are good and most of us would like to claim that this is our natural tendency. Yet, how often are we willing to withdraw our love when someone disappoints us or causes us pain. Love flies out the window when we’re faced with those things that do not meet our standards. Being loving may not be all that easy.

Be compassionate. For most of us, compassion is something we learn. We learn it because we’ve “been there.” We understand with our hearts what it is that someone else is experiencing because it has happened to us as well. We care because we know the kind of pain and the emotional struggle life can bring. We are equally aligned.

Be humble. Moses was the humblest man of his day. He listened to God. He didn’t pretend to know everything. It turns out humility doesn’t care about pedigrees. Humility listens. Humility has a strength that cannot be broken. Jesus was a humble man despite his pedigree. He is our best example.

So, what does it all mean? I bring these behaviors to our attention because we all fall short of our assignment. We fall short, and yet it is our job to be a blessing to one another. It is our hope to bless others as we too would like to be blessed. Whatever your job may be in the world, remind yourself what it means to be a blessing, what it means to share the behaviors that please God the most. I don’t know about you, but I think this is a scripture I need to embroider on a pillow and read it often. 

Thank you for doing such a great job of being a blessing to everyone around you.