A Crisis Management Vector

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By Dr. Russell A. Primrose 6/22/13


Peter's Development

At the Last Supper, as the meeting started to fall apart, Christ said that the domiciles would be offended and desert Him, He said that one of them would betray Him. Peter declared to Christ that even if the others were offended because of Him, he would not desert Him. Christ countered with the information that before the evening was over Peter would deny him three times. When this actually came to pass,Peter was devastated.

The Greek language has several words that are translated by our single word “love”. They have one for erotic love, one for family love; but they also have (phileo) which the means brotherly love, and (agapao) which means the purest kind of love, or heavenly love.

Christ’s Dialog with Peter

After Christ's resurrection from the dead he appeared to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee to cook them a fish breakfast, (Joh 20:15). He singled Peter out, probably because of Peter's denial of him on the night his trial. His first question to Peter was "Peter do you (agapao) love me?" Peter countered that he (phileo) loved Him, or that he thought He was a good person. Christ asked again "Peter do you (agapao) love me?" Peter answered that he (phileo) loved him, that he thought he was a good person. Christ then changed his approach. He asked "Peter do you (phileo) love me, do you think I'm a good person?"

Your heart breaks for him at this point. You're thinking that: Peter you know what he wants. Give it to him. But instead Peter answers very emphatically. He says in effect that, Lord you know me, you know my heart, you know all about me. You know that at this time I (phileo) think you are a good person. The question that comes to mind is that, did Peter ever find out what (agapao) love is?

The Vector.

The answer is that I think he did. In 2Pe. 1:5-7, you find Peter giving us a vector that I am convinced is for crisis management that he must have used many times in his turbulent life. That vector ends in (agapao) love. Peter asks that you add to your faith, goodness, to your goodness, knowledge, and to your knowledge, temperance. These three attributes are focused back in upon yourself. They are very important but they are self-centered. The next thing that you add is patience, which seems to be the teetering point between an inward focus and to focus out beyond yourself. Then you are to add to your patients, Godliness, to your godliness, brotherly kindness, and to your brotherly kindness, (agapao) love. Peter's instructions imply that you are to do this for yourself. He infers that this is not something that is done to you, but that you must take the initiative.

To Grief.

Let's see how this vector is applied in real time.

Death came quickly in my life and I was removed from my life partner of 54+ years. I found myself numb, and going through the motions. The pain was, and still is, more intense than anything I have gone through before. I tried to pick out the casket that she would like. Why would she ever like a casket if she is now dead? I tried to plan a funeral that her friends would like. True, it was a memorial to her, but nobody likes a funeral. A lot of my friends helped me, but I was trying to go through the motions of doing the right thing. I was trying to add goodness to my faith.

The pain was so intense that I found myself reading up on how others had made it through this kind of calamity. The book, Getting to The Other Side of Grief[1] was a great help. Someone signed me up for a daily email from Griefshare, which is helping a lot. I began meeting regularly with a grief-group, and that seemed to help. I was adding knowledge.

Then I found myself merging into the next attribute in Peter's vector. I found myself trying to be temperate. You stay away from the sleeping pills. You watch your diet and try to keep your meals balanced. You exercise. You are trying to find the new, alternate normal, for your life, and you are doing it very carefully and with great caution.

Although I have not reached the patience level yet, myself, I have witnessed the testimony of those who have, and it is a beautiful encouragement to me. Such a quiet peace seems to come with their lives. I find myself trying to be patient with those around me, particularly those who have it much worse than I do.

Christ, himself, put the next two items into this vector,( Mat 22:38). When asked what the greatest commandment was, He said that the first one was: To love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and might. He said that the second was: To love your neighbor as yourself. Peter put these two steps next into the vector at this point.

As far as adding Godliness to my life, I find myself reading the Scriptures more diligently and taking time to regularly have my daily devotions, which I know my wife would have wanted me to do . I purpose to add to my life other expressions of brotherly kindness to those around me. Maybe I can make a difference, and maybe my life will stand for more than it did in the past. In any event I am hopeful that this vector will lead me to an expression of the heavenly love that Peter indicates is the final result.

To a Crisis.

I can see this vector being applied successfully to any of the crises that come up in my life. A person should be able to use this vector, before God, in such crisis situations as the loss of a job, the loss of health, the shattering of a marriage, or just anything that might emerge in your life as a crisis. The admonition in Peter's vector is that we are to deliberately make the effort to add these qualities one after the other. But since we can do so little by ourselves, we rely on the promise that "we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us".


  1. Zonnebelt-Smenge, RN. EdD., Robert C. DeVies,D Min., PhD ' Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouce', Baker Book House Co., 1971, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49516
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