Finally (the end to which all things relate, the aim, the purpose),1
all of you, be like-minded (share the same perspective, the same mind, be harmonious, enjoying divinely-inspired harmony, i.e. knowing God’s mind, His thoughts, as He reveals it through faith),
be sympathetic (be “with suffering” for each other, suffer or feel the like with each other, be understanding, mutually commiserative),
love one another (love like a brother, an affectionate friend, be brotherly, like the love between fellow family-members in God’s family),
be compassionate (tender-hearted, have good, positive gut-level sympathy, empathy, compassion– i.e. live with guts),
and humble (lowly of mind, regulated by the inner perspective of having a humble opinion of oneself, a deep sense of one’s moral littleness, lowliness of mind, the inside-out virtue produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord rather than to others, bringing your behavior into alignment with this inner revelation, living in complete dependence on the Lord, with no reliance on self). 1 Peter 3:8
Peter is writing mostly to fellow believers in the above letter, and he writes that love is the end to which all things relate, the purpose, the aim – a certain kind of love. A love that keeps on walking, though we stumble, towards having the mind of Christ, suffering with each other in the mutual pain of this world as Jesus did and does for us. To love and accept each other as family. (Think of it, we always put up with more from our family than “strangers.”) To live with guts, as Jesus did here on earth, from the center of our being, with empathy and compassion for our fellow strugglers/travelers. To view ourselves from the inside-out, for we know what’s in there, we and God. Yes, that is the aim of this Christian walk. But there is a bigger purpose.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.–The thought of their state of orphanage when He should depart from them is still present. He gives them a bond of union, by which they should always be linked to Him and to each other in the principle of love. The followers of great Teachers and Rabbis had their distinctive marks. Here was the distinctive Christian mark, which all men should be able to read. It is instructive that the characteristic mark of Christianity should thus be asserted by its Founder to consist, not in any formulary or signs, but in the love which asserts the brotherhood of man. The apologists of the first centuries delighted in appealing to the striking fact of the common love of Christians, which was a new thing in the history of mankind; and while the Church has sometimes forgotten the characteristic, the world never has. By their love for each other, for mankind, for God, is it known or denied that men who call themselves Christians are really Christ’s disciples.” — Ellicott’s Commentary
This is our distinctive mark! That we love each other. Do I have that mark? Is it obvious to people that I am a Christian because of how I love?
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12
Loving each other is how we love the unseen God. Even more wonderful, as we do this kind of love towards God and each other, we become as Jesus walking on the earth.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like (just as, corresponding to fully, exactly like) Jesus. 1 John 4:16-17
And what happened when Jesus walked down here? The meek and the lowly, the people ready to receive Him, were drawn to Him, and they were healed and saved and changed. That is “the end to which all things relate, the aim, the purpose” of this love to which we are called.
I am not sure that we are where God desires us to be yet, at least not me. And I know that I can never be there on my own. And it’s only by fixing my eyes on Jesus, working towards aligning my words and my doings and my guts with his, and putting my powerless hand into his strong one on this rocky path that I am ever going to make it. The only way that any of us will ever make it home. Let’s live with guts! Compassionate, tenderhearted, with gut-level empathy. Let our hearts be broken for each other that we might be like Jesus, bringing life and light.
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Mark 1:41 (NLT)
There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him … He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh (moan, groan from grief) said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). Mark 7:32, 34
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled … Jesus wept. John 11:33, 35
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it … Luke 19:41
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Mark 6:34
1Amplification from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, and HELPS Word-studies at Bible Hub.
Photo by Jack Bair