“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8; NIV)
What does godly love look like? I think most of us have considered this question, but not nearly enough. I also think that if we would give this question more consideration, we would act differently in our everyday lives. God’s love is very different than how most of us perceive love in this world. The Greeks had at least four different words for love. One for godly love, one for friendship, one for family, and one for eroticism. Godly love (agape), is the love we are directed to have for everyone (see Mark 12:31). It’s a love that transcends our emotions and leads us to truly desire that every person we encounter comes to know Jesus Christ. This level of love is not something we can produce on our own. It’s driven by the Holy Spirit in us. So how are we supposed to understand and connect with this kind of love?
In our everyday lives, we are called as Christians to serve one another. In 1 Peter 4 and Romans 12, we’re told that we are each given a gift that is to be used to serve others. Among these gifts are the gift of service, speaking, teaching, leading, administrating, mercy, exhortation (uplifting), and prophecy. (Prophecy is not just seeing into the future. It’s also speaking wisdom into someone’s life that is pertinent to their specific situation.) Of course, all of these come from the Lord and are best utilized through an ongoing relationship with Him through prayer and study.
This week’s verse says, “love covers over a multitude of sins.” This isn’t just referring to someone else’s sins. This means your own sins as well. Love will cover your tendency to judge, or gossip, or speak harshly to someone. It will have you hesitate before you condemn someone for something they’ve done. Godly love will have you praying for those who are harsh and bitter instead of being offended by them. A significant part of living a Christian life is serving others with the gifts we are given. Peter puts it simply:
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. (1 Peter 2:12; NIV)
When we serve others with love we are showing the goodness of God and the heart of Jesus to those who might have never experienced it. And, if you show that love to someone who does not seem to deserve any, it not only blesses the one receiving the love. It also has a profound effect on all who witness it. Couple that with giving God the glory for whatever you do, and you have an incredibly powerful testimony. It may seem impossible to love some people, especially if they’re just plain nasty and rude. But if you put aside your emotions and pray for them and for the Lord to work through you, He will enable you to show His love by serving others in ways you may never have considered before.
Serving others in the name of Jesus will bring you a greater understanding of God’s love. You will be blessed by doing something for another human being who will see the Light of Christ through your service as well as your love. And considering it covers a multitude of sins, it’s a win for everyone.
Have a great week and God bless.