1 Peter 4:8 NASB
“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
If God handed out report cards for how we love one another, I wonder how many of us would get a passing grade? To be quite candid with you, I’m thinking there would be a good number of days when I would be in detention. I don’t know if it is because of my age or if my mind just can’t handle all of the reasoning that goes on in it anymore, but as of late it seems that I become overwhelmed with the complexity of so much of what I see happening both outside of myself and also within.
And if I sincerely take to heart, that which the Apostle Paul speaks about with regard to love, especially as he clarifies it for us in 1 Corinthians 13, who among us can stand before that criteria? And how about some of those specifics Paul mentions such as always having patience, being kind, not seeking my own, not being provoked, not taking into account wrong suffered, bearing all things, enduring all things and never failing?
It almost makes one want to consider sewing one’s own lips together. Notice I said “almost”. But how about what goes on in our minds and hearts? Sewing isn’t going to do any good there is it? And then of course, we have the standard Jesus gave us. Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The thing is, if I did nothing else but consider the words that come out of my own mouth and the thoughts that formulate in my own mind, obviously not all of the time, but enough of the time to make me aware of what is within me, then I would be at a loss for words to say anything about literally anyone within the Church, except for the most grievous offences against God’s holiness, because of what I see and know about myself.
In the military, that I used to serve in, we used to have what I will call “sensitivity” training where we were enlightened as to how we should interact and respect those of the opposite sex and/or different ethnic origins etc. I’m thinking God is giving me “sensitivity” training as of late and I’m not overly keen about what I am seeing in me.
I know, this is not new, Paul covers this in Romans 7 and 8. But what is new to me is the expansiveness or the enhancement of my own awareness, of the magnitude of, my own deficiencies. And it’s even worse than I previously thought. And please don’t get me wrong, I am NOT some decrepit old man. God has been very gracious to me over the years and my mouth, mind and heart have been greatly modified from what they once were. But as of late, it’s like when you get your eyes checked and they make that switch and then ask you which one looks clearer. Well it’s getting clearer.
And, to make matters worse, what I see in me, I also see in some other individuals. Many outside of the Church and some within the Church. But who am I to say what I see, because of what I see in me. And I can’t help but sense that this is exactly what God wants me to see. I’m thinking that love indeed does cover a multitude of sins but in the vast majority of instances, that love that is manifested, that covers that multitude of sins, is God’s love, and it is His love, towards you and me, demonstrated through His perfect Son, that is still changing my mind and heart within.
I’m going to close this post with 1 John 4:7-21 because it encapsulates everything that I have just said. Please read it carefully and note what I have taken the liberty to put into bold type:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!