I love easy and straightforward instructions. Ha! Right? We’ve all gotten those items, those things we have to put together, that come with instructions that make absolutely no sense. Insert slot C into partition G. It sounds simple enough, except there are no parts labeled G or partition. Turn the screw counterclockwise. Easy peasy, right? Yep, it’s easy enough unless we’ve had to turn the thing upside down. Especially ironic are the instructions that are all technical pictures with no words. You’d think it would make it easier, but it doesn’t usually work out that way. Instructions can be a complicated and frustrating adventure.
1 Peter 3:8 MSG
“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.”
Thankfully, for us, God's instructions are not complicated or frustrating in the least...at least on most days. They are relatively easy and straightforward, uncomplicated instructions.
Be agreeable. No, it doesn’t mean to agree with everything anyone says. It means to be pleasant. Smile and be polite. Be a person who is easy to talk to and confide in with confidence. Be a joyful and thankful kind of person.
Be sympathetic. Being sympathetic doesn’t mean that we take sides or enable others. It does mean that we can have a sympathetic ear. We can listen well. We can be a sounding board and we can encourage.
Be loving. Love one another with a hopeful heart. See others with the goodness and grace. See one another as Jesus sees us.
Be compassionate. Compassion is showing concern for one another. Helping others with acts of kindness and generosity. Empathizing without judgment.
Be humble. Being humble isn’t about doing something good when others can see you, but doing something good when no one else knows. Being humble is about thinking of others instead of ourselves, caring for others without reservation or expectation.
Summing it up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. Straightforward and relatively easy to follow instructions. We can choose to be our best selves ... at least on most days. When we aren’t, we ask for forgiveness, we forgive ourselves, we go back to the instructions and we try again. God’s Word is always available to help when us when we need instructions.