The people Peter was writing to were experiencing great persecution. Peter was instructing them how to deal with the persecution… how to respond biblically to the persecution… no matter who it comes from.
Now he is dealing with how to treat one another in the midst of persecution. When we are under pressure and stress, our tendency is to take it out on one another. Tempers flare, anxieties grow. The ones closest to us will be the ones to feel the burn… unless we follow Peter’s next instructions:
Church splits and family splits often happen as a result of not dealing with pressure properly. Why do you think during and after a building project are most common times for people to leave a church? Everyone is under pressure! Peter, under the leadership of the Spirit, new that the pressure was on and churches and families were feeling the pinch. He gives the perfect counsel for such a time…
Eight Things That Prevent Splits
- be ye all of one mind
There is only one way to be of one mind… be grounded upon the same foundation… God’s Word. Let God’s Word guide your actions, thinking, and choices. If each member of the family does this and each member of the home does this, disagreement will dwindle away.
- having compassion one of another
When one person hurts, we should all hurt. We should be a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.
- love as brethren
Satan like to divide and conquer. It’s easy to attack someone who feels they are all alone. He likes to go for the weakest link. Don’t allow “divide and conquer opportunities. LOVE! And love is an action word. Reach out! Serve one another! (This concept should do away with cliques and favorite child syndrome.)
- be pitiful
Care about each other’s needs. Don’t just say, “Be warmed and filled. I will pray for you.” Do something! Help out.
- be courteous:
Show each other respect. Be polite. Learn healthy communication. Avoid unhealthy forms of communication. (Sarcasm and playful “trash talking.”) It may seem innocent, but they are not good for creating deep, close, intimate relationships.
- Not rendering evil for evil
If someone doesn’t treat you with courtesy, kindness, love, compassion, and pity, do not “return the favor.”
- Or railing for railing
If someone verbally slanders or brings reproach upon you wrongfully, do not injure them. The law of kindness should always rule our tongues, even when we have been wronged.
- but contrariwise blessing
Be a blessing to your family and your church. Do not make that conditional on if they do the same for you. Make it absolutely unconditional.
God wants us to be blessed even in the midst of trials, persecution, struggles, pressure, and stress. Following these steps consistently will cultivate an atmosphere of unity in your home and church. It will help deep, meaningful relationships to form as you learn to trust each other and love each other.