1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
You know what breaks my heart? There are so many people out there who are not willing to even give Christianity or church a try because they’re afraid of being judged. They think they have to get their lives in order before jumping on the J-Train. And why do they think that? Because of us.
It seems like we church-goers are quick to offer “tough love.” It’s like we think if we accept other people then we are completely condoning everything they do. So we have to take a hardline stance and stand in the way of people’s access to Christ if we deem them unworthy. This often happens on a subconscious level – those stares and glares and minor facial expressions, those off the cuff remarks to a friend about someone else that inevitably find their way to that person. We have become the self-imposed gatekeepers of the kingdom of heaven. God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance. We’re completely content to let people perish unless they become just like us.
In the great Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13) remember it says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” God is love. God keeps no record of wrongs. And neither should we.
And remember, too, today’s verse comes from Peter – the same Peter who denied Jesus three times, who had failed spectacularly, who had turned his back on his best friend. He felt worthless, at bed rock bottom. But then Jesus “reinstates” Peter by asking him three times, “Do you love me?” Peter experienced the true, unconditional, all-forgiving love of Christ. And what was his response supposed to be? “Take care of my sheep.”
The love of Christ is greater than any sin we have. If we are supposed to love one another as Christ has loved us, then we should be as forgiving towards others as Christ has been towards us. “Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.”
Peter has first-hand experience of the kind of love he is calling us to have for one another. Let’s build bridges instead of barriers. Let’s seek to restore, not to reprimand. Above all, let’s love each other deeply.