A Matter of Perspective

Photo by Johnny Mckane

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8 ESV).

When I was attending Abilene Christian University, we lived in a house with a gray, gravel driveway. Gravel is the most ordinary of materials. We might glance at it and never give it another thought, but to my toddler son, gravel was the stuff of magic. When he got out of the car, he squatted down, picked up a stone, and turning it over and over in his tiny hands; he was lost in wonder. Was there anything so wonderful as a little gray rock flecked with sparkles? I put down my books and sat down beside him. He laughed and held out one of his treasures. Have you looked at the world through the eyes of a child? It becomes a world full of magic.

As the Apostle Peter is closing his first letter, he encourages Christians to cultivate a way of thinking and feeling. He encourages us to change our perspectives. He lists these five virtues: “unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” The series begins and ends with how we discipline our thoughts. First, we are to think alike, and finally, we are to be humble in our thoughts.

Today, let’s focus on the first virtue: “have unity of mind.” There is more to this virtue than appears at first glance. This virtue encourages us not only to think and reason the same way but to feel the same too. Peter has chosen to begin this series with a word that only appears here in the New Testament. It is a compound word combining homos (ὁμός – think of the English word “homo-genized”) and phren, (φρήν – in English, like in Greek, the stem phren– refers to “the seat of the intellect, feelings, and will; the mind”). So when we join them together in Peter’s special word, homophron, we have the meaning “like-minded, united in spirit, harmonious.”

A quick look at the various translations reveals: “be ye all of one mind” (KJV). Many English Bibles stress the idea of Christians being in harmony with one another (NASB, LEB, NET). The Complete Jewish Bible takes it one step further: “be one in mind and feeling.” It gets to the heart of the matter.

How can we think the same thoughts? How can we feel the same way? By learning to see the world through God’s eyes instead of our own. Lost in the busyness of everyday life, I only see the world through my eyes. Peter challenges us to take up a new perspective and see the world with the same eyes: God’s eyes.

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