Christian Virtues: Love, Pity & Courtesy
Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Tuesday, 21 March 2017
1 Peter 3:8
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
here are 5 Christian virtues mentioned in verse 8. Yesterday we studied the first two of them, namely, unity and compassion. Three new virtues are considered today.
Brotherly love: Peter exhorts us to "love as brethren". A congregation must treat one another as brothers. We must express godly love that fosters an atmosphere of a happy family of God. Peter is challenging every child of God to show love towards one another.
Love is not merely a feeling. It is all the gracious virtues in action. Love is compassion in action. Love is pity at work. Love is humility at its lowest ebb serving. Once D.L Moody said, "Faith gets the most, humility keeps the most, love works the most."
Romans 12:10 says "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”
Pity: Peter exhorts, "Be pitiful." In Ephesians 4:32 the same Greek word is translated as "tenderhearted." It is the tenderness of heart toward others. It not only feels the pain of others, but also stretches its hand to assist. It is one step further than compassion.
As Christians we are to feel for others and do something about it whenever we can. It is not just feeling sorry for somebody who is wounded but also stretching the hands to wash the wounds and gently applying the medicine. Let’s pray that God will add a gentle hand to our compassionate feelings.
Courtesy: The word in its origin carries the idea of humble-mindedness. It is a virtue that puts others ahead of oneself. It is a virtue that gives honour to others. As Paul said, "Ín honour preferring one another" (Romans 12:10b).
Many Christians take the need of courtesy as a trivial matter. Sometimes the way Christians talk, and act seems to suggest that they knew nothing of courtesy.
Politeness and courtesy must characterise our conversations and relationships. Acts 27:3 tells us a brief story of a courteous man named Julius. "And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself." There is yet another story of a courteous man - "In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously" (Acts 28:7).
"Be good within, do good without."
Lord, teach me to be humble that I may not stumble others.