“Love one another deeply for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Pet. 4:8
As Valentines Day approaches lets take a peek at the power of love that moves through us – both when we reach out and we focus in on our brothers and sisters in the Church.
Sometimes outreach people can become so fixated on reaching out we can poo poo the need for the obvious – to show love to the obvious, the already gathered.
Let’s pull that verse apart:
“Love one another deeply”
Love those inside the church first.
The call here is not just to merely love but to love “deeply.” It takes far more grace and power to love insiders than outsiders. Here’s my thought – God will develop our ability to love others through the difficult people he places in our lives in the Church we are unable to avoid. As that capacity to love deepens, we will be all the more effective at loving outsiders.
As we love, something redemptive is released.
“Love covers…sins.” That’s an amazing promise! There aren’t many promises that bold in the Bible. When we fail we can choose empowered attitudes and actions that God will anoint to cover our failures. Amazing!
“…love covers…a multitude of sins”
God’s power is released, our sins and failures are covered, when we love other Believers.
The key is that are willing to aim our love toward others in the Body of Christ. It is easy to shy away from taking advantage of the promise of 1 Pet. 4:8. Believers are far more difficult to love than those outside the Church! They are people in process, thus they are more irritating, sometimes stuck in repeating, irritating patterns and when they change it seems like a very slowww process. Let’s face it, those on the outside, the ones we have no relationship with, are ones we can extend grace to far more readily.
Christian love is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
This kind of love is not brought by human effort. As people who move in the world of kindness outreach we all know from experience that it’s not an act of deciding with our wills that we will love that makes outreach love happen. We need God to give us the desire and ability to move in the power of his love. It works the same way when we reach out to those inside the Church.
…Keep in mind:
Don’t wait until you get your love skills perfected on the inside of the Church before you reach out and serve.
I’ve heard confusion on this point from those in leadership who are concerned about the point of readiness for outreach. I appreciate the concern, but the truth is we will never perfect our love this side of heaven (1 Cor. 13). We will in in a continual process the rest of our earthly lives. We will always be moving toward greater effectiveness in our love. Our role now is to be available to do the bidding of God. He will use us as we are willing to be sent. Ready – FIRE! – Aim. That’s our guiding motto!
“What we do in life…echoes in Eternity”