1 Peter 3:8
It doesn’t take too long for a newly married couple to start discovering the differences between the way a man and a woman think and feel. But the husband and wife just need to stay committed to their marriage and seriously work at learning to understand one another. Then as they grow together through the years, they will eventually start to think the same and see things from the same perspective.
When this level of unity is finally achieved, it brings power to a marriage. This is exactly the reason Peter exhorted husbands and wives, telling them, “Finally, be ye all of one mind….”
Notice Peter begins by saying, “Finally….” In Greek, this is the phrase to telos, which lets us know that he is coming to the final conclusion of what he has been saying to husbands and wives. The words to telos serve as an exclamation mark, letting the reader know that Peter is wrapping up and concluding this subject with some very important final remarks.
Then Peter tells the husbands and wives to be of “one mind.” This is the challenge that has been set before husbands and wives since the beginning of time! The words “one mind” come from the Greek word homophron. The first part of the word is the Greek word homos, which means one of the very same kind. The second part of the word comes from the Greek word phren, which refers to the mind or the intelligence.
When these two words are compounded into one, forming the word homophron, it means to be similarly minded. It could be translated of the same mind. It is the idea of two people who think the same, feel the same, and view things in life the same way. They are similar in their thinking, reasoning, and conclusions.
Commitment is required in order for two people to become of one mind. These two people must want to understand each other, want to see things the same way, want to think the same way, and want to have the same vision, goal, and purpose in life.
Because my wife and I love each other, we work very hard to understand one another. When we don’t understand what the other is projecting or saying, we stop and work on it until we do understand.
Misunderstanding through miscommunication is the door the devil likes to use to get in between spouses and divide them. But if a husband and wife will commit themselves to keeping the door shut to misunderstanding and miscommunication, this one factor alone can keep the devil from finding access into their relationship.
What are you doing to become of one mind with your spouse? Do you talk at length with each other? Do you pray and worship together? How often do you read the Bible together? Do you regularly devote time to one another that is free of the mobile telephone and the children crying out for your attention? Becoming of one mind takes focus and concentration. It doesn’t happen by accident. If you and your spouse are going to achieve this blessed state God wants you to have, it will take a deliberate decision and action on your part.
Then Peter says that husbands and wives are to have “… compassion one of another….” I think it is very significant that he placed this command right after telling us to be of one mind, because our attempts to understand each other can cause some definite moments of frustration! Nevertheless, instead of giving in to those feelings of exasperation, we are to put aside our frustration and let compassion start to operate.
Sometimes you may not understand a single thing your spouse is trying to say. Other times you may express yourself over and over again, and your spouse still won’t get it. But rather than get angry or frustrated when that happens, you can choose to let compassion flow!
What do I mean by “compassion”? The word “compassion” is the Greek word sumpathos, a compound of sun, describing something that is equally shared, and the Greek word pathos, meaning feelings, affection, or passion. When these two words are compounded together, they literally mean to share feelings and emotions. This refers to one who enters into someone else’s experience to share that experience and to be a partner who understands what that person is going through. The word sumpathos is where we get the English word sympathy. It means to be empathetic, kind, considerate, caring, and full of mercy.
When you take the meaning of these Greek words into consideration, the verse conveys the following idea:
“In conclusion, do everything you can to see and understand things the same way and to be sympathetic, kind, considerate, and caring of each other….”
By using the word sumpathos (“compassion”), Peter urges all of us to try to be sympathetic with each other. Rather than rush to judgment and get upset when we don’t understand what someone else is saying or doing, we need to reach out to that person and try to understand. This principle is especially true in marriage. It is absolutely essential that we learn to be sympathetic with our spouses.
When an opportunity arises that would normally cause us to get upset with our spouses, we need to instead reach out to them and ask how we can help. And when we see our spouses struggling in some area, that isn’t the time to preach at them or judge them for it. They need us to be their closest, most sympathetic friend.
So the next time you want to get upset with your mate, determine to have compassion instead. Reach out to him or her in love and say, “I see that you are struggling. Is there anything I can do to help?”
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, help me to put aside my fleshly pride and to do everything I can to understand my precious spouse. I confess that there are times when I just don’t understand what my spouse is trying to say or do. I often get frustrated and allow myself to get upset. Therefore, Holy Spirit, I am telling You right now that I need Your assistance to remain calm, to be at peace, and to let sympathy flow from my heart in place of the aggravation I have allowed to pester me. Today I want to turn a new page in my life. I want to be the best friend my spouse has ever had. Help me recognize where I need to change in order to be what I need to be in this marriage relationship.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am an understanding and compassionate spouse. My mate feels no judgment or rejection from me. We are working on our relationship. We are becoming more understanding of one another. We are achieving more unity than we’ve ever known in our relationship. As a result, we are on our way to being happier than we’ve ever been at any other time in our marriage. The worst days are behind us, and the best days are before us. Because the Holy Spirit is helping us, we are overcoming every struggle and experiencing new realms of victory in our lives!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Would your spouse say that you are the kind and compassionate friend he or she needs or that you tend to be preachy and judgmental?
- Does your spouse feel “safe” with you? Is it easy for your spouse to open his or her heart and be totally honest in front of you? Or does your mate dread facing your judgmental attitude or your reprimand for his or her perceived weaknesses or shortcomings?
- What do your answers to the two questions above indicate about the changes you need to make in your words and actions so your spouse can feel more comfortable with you? What steps can you take to foster a closer friendship and partnership with your spouse?