1 Peter 4:7-8
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Today, we will continue to look at how to survive and thrive during difficult times. Yesterday, we saw the importance of praying intelligently as we ask God to reveal His perspective on our current circumstances. Today, we will see the importance of loving deeply during difficult times. In verse eight, we read, “love each other deeply.” Some might argue that this should be true regardless of our circumstances. I would agree with this thought. But in this text, Peter encourages us to love one another earnestly because “love covers over a multitude of sins.” Where love abounds in a fellowship of believers, many small, as well as large offenses, are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts abound—to Satan’s perverse delight.
Hatred (a lack of love) in a church will stir up strife. This group will be against that group, and these people will be against that person, and all that type of thing. But love covers up all that. One of the biblical words for love, agape, means “to value or hold in high esteem.” This describes God’s love for us. We are valued (loved) by God because He created us in His own image. So, when Peter instructs us to “love each other deeply,” he is saying that we must place a high value on others. This does not mean that we must agree with their actions or compromise biblical truth. This means we are committed to treat others in such a way that they feel loved (valued) by us. What does this look like? Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Is this what love looks like in your spheres of influence?
The fact that Peter uses the adverb “deeply” here communicates the importance of loving well, especially during difficult times. When things are going well, it is easy to love at a surface level. Love becomes more difficult under the pressures and stresses of this world. When life gets tough, we tend to become more selfish and prideful. Instead we must turn to God and ask Him to help us love the way that He loves. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He responded with a summary of the Ten Commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” I never understood what it meant “to love your neighbor as yourself” until I learned the true meaning of the word love (to value).
So how do we not only survive during difficult times but thrive in them? We must be committed to love others deeply despite our differences.
Questions to Ponder:
Are you able to “love deeply” those who disagree with you? Do you value (love) others the same way that God values (loves) you? How would you apply this passage of Scripture with all that is going on in our world today? Which attribute of love is most prevalent in your life today? Which attribute of love is least prevalent in your life today?
- Praise God as the lover of your heart. Worship Him as the God of love. Praise Him for His patience, kindness, gentleness, etc.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart and see if there is any sin you need to confess. Tell the Lord you are sorry and receive His forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love. Rest in this place for a moment. Rest in the reality of being fully forgiven. That a just God has not only forgiven you but also wiped it from His memory. He forgives as far as the East is from the West—an incredible reality. Soak in His agape.
- Thank Him for His unrelenting love. Thank Him for His mercy, grace, and kindness. Ask the Lord to help You serve someone today, to love them as you love yourself. (I.e., You take care of your personal needs so loving someone as yourself might mean helping take care of theirs.)
- Tell our Father to help You to forgive those who have offended you. Release them over to the Lord. Release the situation to the Father and walk in freedom.
- Praise God that we love much because we have been forgiven much!
King of Glory, Redeemer, and Friend, thank You for taking away the sins of the world. Thank You for taking away my sins and washing me with Your Word, making me clean. Thank You for life in Christ. That I am born again; set free from this world, and the enemy has no power over me. You will watch over me and are with me. You are faithful until the end. Teach me and Your greater one church how to love. Come and fan the flames of love upon my heart, God. Enable me to think on pure and holy things, to think love toward others and mean it in my heart. You have impacted my heart and life. I want to reflect You and Your glory to those around me. I need Your help, Lord. Come now and infill me and Your church with Your Holy Spirit. And help us to love one another deeply, to love our enemies, love those who persecute us, love those who hurt us. Lead us by Your Spirit into agape. I ask in the matchless name of Jesus Christ. Amen.