As someone who has coached high school basketball at a Christian school for over 25 years, I can tell you that it is immensely challenging. Not only is there the constant focus on both the team's and each individual player's development in order to stay competitive, but there is the even more intense desire to retain a positive witness in the community. In my hometown, the school is always a target for naysayers who will find any and every reason to criticize our teams.
In order to combat this negativity, I have made it my mission to build relationships with the officials and opposing coaches. However, I will only have the opportunity to do that if I choose to live an exemplary life in the Spirit's power, following my Lord’s example to love.
What does that look like? It starts with taking a personal interest in them as people whom God loves. Does it work? It has with many people, particularly those I have come to know well. The end result has been countless positive interactions which include words of affirmation, encouragement, and even the odd prayer.
Is that what Peter had in mind when he penned his letter? His readers would have been in a very precarious position as a minority religious group seeking to gain influence in the Roman empire. They often faced ridicule and worse, persecution. Even death! Yet, we know from history that the early Christ followers were incredibly influential. What would happen if we chose to model our lives after them?
Dear Lord, enable me through your Spirit to have a loving spirit and lead a life that exemplifies you so I can draw others nearer to you. Amen.
Go Deeper — Who do you have a hard time getting along with? How does this verse from I Peter help you change your perspective on how to treat them?
Go Further — Becoming an online mentor opens doors to countless positive interactions with people around the world who are facing difficult situations. Your loving, compassionate presence could change lives!
Photo Credit: Magnezis