Read 1 Peter 4:1-11
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (v. 8).
If you haven’t already drawn this conclusion, let me state it clearly: Love is to be one of the defining characteristics of a Christ follower. I realize that isn’t rocket science. It doesn’t take a theological degree to come up with that one. And yet, the question sits ready to be posed: Are we living daily life with love as the priority?
In the short verse cited above, Peter points out three important principles about love.
Love’s priority– As the Spirit of God directed Peter in the recording of these thoughts, don’t miss the fact that love is given an “above all” priority. The love we demonstrate towards other believers in Christ is not an “oh yeah, you probably should do this” sort of thing. No, it is given highest priority! In fact, as Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers in the midst of relational tensions and conflict over spiritual gifts, he committed to showing them “a still more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31). At that point, he introduced the famous love chapter (1 Corinthians 13), which closes with this statement, “. . . the greatest of these is love” (v. 13). Do you give priority to love?
Love’s depth– We are to love others “deeply.” This is not superficial. It is not just going through the motions. This love is more than giving the canned, expected response. It is love that comes from the heart. Other Bible translations use words like “fervently” or “earnestly.” It includes the ability to set aside a personal agenda (Phil. 2:1-4) and to enter into the joy and the pain of others (Rom. 12:15). Does your love penetrate the surface?
Love’s power– Our love for others enables us to overlook some of their weaknesses and sins. Literally, “love covers over a multitude of sins.” In other words, you don’t have to take offense at every mistake made or sin committed by another person. Not every stray word has to lead to confrontation. Paul said, “. . . [love] it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5). Love will enable you to just smile and move on without bitterness.
Are you experiencing that kind of power in your relationships?