Love Each Other
"Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins." -- 1 Peter 4:8
When I was in high school, I once had a teacher write this statement on the chalkboard, “You like someone because…, You love someone although…”. We spent quite a bit of time in that class trying to decipher the meaning behind this somewhat cryptic statement. You see, you like someone because they make you laugh, or because you enjoy spending time with them, or because they always go out of their way to say hi to you. But to truly love someone, you see their faults, their sins, their failures and you love them anyway.
1 Peter 4:8 reads this way, “Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins.” This scripture was written to Christians regarding other Christians. We are being instructed to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This seems odd to me at first glance. I mean, surely we love one another, right? We may struggle to love our loud uncle who is always on the other side of our political opinions. Or we may really have issues with our neighbors who let their dogs fertilize our lawns. But those inside the church? Do we really struggle with loving them? Yes. Yes, we do. Or I do, at least.
I believe one reason why we may need a reminder to love our brothers and sisters in Christ is our expectations. We expect fellow believers to be patient, kind, and considerate. We expect them to act Christlike. We expect to be accepted, loved, cherished and forgiven. Simply put, we expect more and when we receive less, it hurts.
So how do we love deeply? What does it look like? Well, ironically, love looks like the very behaviors we want to see in others. We are to be patient, kind and considerate. We are to accept others, cherish others, forgive others. Someone has gossiped to you or about you? Forgive them, pray for them, and continue to love them. Someone promises to help you with a project, but flakes at the last minute? Invite them again. Someone is just grumpy all the time? Find out what makes them smile, and then do it.
One additional note about choosing to love people – you will get hurt. You will allow people to enter your heart and life, and they will fail and disappoint you. And you will enter into the heart and lives of others, and you will fail and disappoint them. And then we will choose to continue to love each other deeply, because this life is so much better with friends and companions than by ourselves. We will choose to forgive and restore relationships, because we understand that we are not better than others and if we want forgiveness for ourselves, we must offer it to others.
Question to consider: Who can you start loving today? If you don’t already have someone on your heart and mind, ask God to give you the name of a fellow believer that really needs to be shown love.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving me and being an example to me of how I should treat others. Help me to look past myself, and love my brothers and sisters in Christ. Teach me to forgive and offer grace and compassion. I love you! In Jesus Name, Amen.