Have you ever eaten a tough piece of meat? Meat’s allegedly good for you, and you can even pay a bit extra for a superior cut, but if it comes up tough after you’ve cooked it … well, you’d have been better off without it.
Some things are good if they’re tough – the soles of your shoes for instance. Of course you want them to be tough. But there are other things in life that we’d much prefer to be tender rather than tough.
Take a person’s heart for instance. Of course I’m speaking metaphorically, but you know what I mean. Their attitude towards you and the rest of the world … sure, we need people who are strong too, but we want them to be gentle, kind, and thoughtful along the way.
The Apostle Peter was writing to people who were under severe persecution for being Christians. Under those circumstances, when you’re under extreme pressure as they were, it’s easy to have a heart that’s hardened against adversity – even a heart that’s hardened against the people around you.
1 Peter 3:8,9 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. (NRSV)
How do you respond under pressure? It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves. Because the last thing God wants is for us to harden our hearts.
But instead, have a tender heart. Be sympathetic, and love the people around you. Be humble and don’t repay evil for evil, or abuse for abuse. Instead, repay it with a blessing.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.