In an old Peanuts cartoon Lucy marched in and demanded that her brother, Linus, change television channels.
“What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over? asks Linus.
“These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single fist they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”
With a look of resignation, Linus asks, “Which channel do you want?”
In the final frame, Linus turns away, looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
Well, there are two ways of being united. One is through fear, force and intimidation. The other is through faith, hope and love. The former is carnal, the later is spiritual. The former is based on bullying, the later on mutual cooperation. The former causes problems, the later produces peace. The former brings a curse, the later a blessing.
These two approaches are contrasted in 1 Peter 3:8-9. The Message renders it this way:
Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Our relationship in Christ is not one in which we return evil for evil, nor do we render reviling for reviling. Instead of wishing evil on another brother, we seek to be a blessing to one another. The word “blessing” here means “to speak well of, to praise, to celebrate, to invoke God’s gracious power on another.”
Being a blessing to one another is God’s way of us getting along, of being an instrument of peace instead of a wedge of division. Besides, vengeance doesn’t belong to us; it is God’s prerogative. Treating a person with kindness rather than vengeance is the way to move his heart.
Here are four practical ways we can be a blessing to others.
1. Treat people better than they treat you.
Jesus tells us that it is easy to love people who love us. But we are called to a higher standard. We treat people nice who are not very nice to us. (Lk 6:27-31)
2. Walk the second mile (Matt 5:41).
A second mile person is one who says “I will do more than you ask. More than is required. More than is expected. More than is necessary. I will bless you by going above and beyond my mere duty.
3. Help people you can’t help you.
You are a blessing to others when you do good without the expectation of a return favor. Some people invite people for dinner, then wait for them to reciprocate. Or buy a gift, anticipating to receive a gift. The spirit of being a blessing to others is doing good just for the sake of doing good.
4. Do right when you want to do wrong.
This is the eternal challenge of the flesh versus the spirit. When you’re prone to disagree, find an area of agreement. When you feel like picking a fight, pray. When you’re tempted to be sarcastic, be sympathetic. When you feel the urge to criticize, express compassion. When you want to curse, bless
Being a blessing to one another is the purpose of our calling. And it allows us to live in harmony with others. It produces inner peace and personal satisfaction. But most of all, we enjoy the approval of God. When we’re a blessing to others, we’ll receive a blessing.
Resolve today to be a blessing to everyone you meet.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman