Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4: 8

 

Peter knew the score. In his time the days were filled with perils. Some of these risks were aimed at the body, some at the mind, and others at the spirit. Life was challenging, and living it for the glory of Christ was literally dangerous. Yet, in the midst of these tensions, concerns, and worries Peter speaks of loving one another. He seems to be telling me that my natural response to a rather slim version of these life pressures wherein I become brittle, harsh, and let concern rule my heart is simply not the way that a follower of Christ needs to engage with my world. There is another way, and my old friend Peter wants to let me know about it.

 

What I hear Peter saying to me is, “Steve, you are a sinner. You don’t trust our Lord enough to know with a certainty that overcomes all anxiety and fear that Christ rules this day and tomorrow as well.” So, these doubts and fears take over my life, and my response to them causes me to engage with others in ways that are graceless and unloving. The result is that when I most need fellowship and the wisdom of others, I separate myself from them. Then Peter provides an answer that is almost too simple; yet, it is also one of the hardest things that I can think of to do when the storms of living in our world are battering the window of my heart and mind. Peter says that I should face the wind and the waves in the same way that Jesus did.

 

In fact, Christ responded time and again to the assault that this broken world threw at Him with the love that caused the Father to send Him into it. Christ loved when people rejected Him, He loved when they defied Him, He loved as they tortured and mocked Him, and He loved us all as His life was flowing out on the cross. My Lord faced fearful situations and an angry world with love as His response. How can I deny Christ by refusing to love the people in my world? As a follower of Christ, I am filled with His Spirit, and that is the Spirit of love, grace, and peace. I can turn to Him in these hard days, challenging hours, and desperate moments and His reassuring voice speaks that same love into my heart and grants me the grace to pour out Christ’s love into the people I meet along the way.

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