I Peter 4:8 ESV
John 13:35 ESV
When I started toying with the idea of setting up a website and writing a blog, I absolutely did not know where to begin.
Fortunately Seminary did teach me how to do research, so I dug in.
I discovered the who what and where but I had trouble getting to the how.
So, I spent time experimenting and I prayed.
I’m not sure if my struggle came about because my old brain didn’t want to cooperate or if I just didn’t have the skill set needed to set up the website, but I came to a point where I was very frustrated. I was so frustrated that I wanted to quit.
The problem is that I really felt like God wanted me to write and I thought I was supposed to have a website.
I do not like asking for help, but I did ask my children for help. I have four grown children who are all married. All eight of them finished college and three of them went on to graduate school.
I asked them if they knew anything about setting up a website. Within minutes I had two volunteers. The website was set up and running within two hours.
Wow. I mean wow.
I wondered why I didn’t ask for help sooner?
I’ve learned now that whenever I have a ‘how to’ question I need to ask someone younger.
I’ve also found that I can learn a lot from them about life.
I also consult scripture. I Peter 4:8 tells us, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
I recently had the privilege of interviewing a six year old boy and I asked what love means to him. He said hugs and kisses, a brother, lots of hugs and kisses at night from mom and dad and saying I love you.
Then I asked a ten year old what love means and he said love is God and God’s people see His glory. He also said it’s about caring and kindness. Then he paused and he said that it’s really about all sorts of things.
For most of my adult life prior to retirement I volunteered to work with children’s ministry. I
Have taught every level from three year olds through high school and I have always been blessed and pleasant surprise by a child’s view of life.
In this case I was blown away.
I realized than anyone who thinks the younger generation has nothing to offer needs to open their eyes to a new perspective.
I Peter 4:8 tells us ardently and fervently to continue to love each other. The Koine Greek word for earnestly or fervently is ‘ektene’. According to my research that word in that form is only used once in the New Testament. It’s a word that packs a punch.
Peter really wants his readers to pay attention.
He’s saying this is the most important message.
Historically we have to remember what Peter and the other followers of The Way of Jesus were going through.
The Roman Emperor Nero ruled the Roman Empire from 54 to 68 A.D. When the great fire broke out in Rome in 64 A.D. Nero had to find a way to deflect the blame away from himself so he blamed the people of The Way (Christians). At that time Christianity was known as a Jewish sect; Jesus was after all Jewish. As a result many early Christians were persecuted, burned alive or martyred (https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/persecution-in-early-church-gallery).
Peter most likely wrote I Peter around 64 A.D. (https://insight.org/resources/bible/the-general-epistles/first-peter).
Even if Peter wrote the fourth chapter of I Peter prior to the Great Fire and Nero’s persecution of the followers of Jesus, the emperor’s persecution of Jesus’ followers had already started. Some believe that Paul was martyred in 64 A.D. (https://www.gotquestions.org/how-old-was-Paul-when-He-died.html).
The point is that Peter knew the followers of Jesus were suffering. He also knew that love…the love of God through Jesus would provide the answer they needed.
The truth is that when life overwhelms us, God’s love made manifest through Jesus will carry us.
Their answers were ever so correct. Love comes from God, from our brothers (and sisters), and that love is exhibited in personal and meaningful ways.
We can show love, we can speak love, we can even give love to each other. God gives love freely to us and we fervently pass it on.
I think that message is ever so desperately needed in our world today. Even though we have modern conveniences that may (or may not) make life easier, we still desperately need to care for and kindly give love away.
We can ask God to give us love when we are hurting.
We can freely give away Jesus’ love to others who need love.
In addition to that in John 13:35 Jesus told his followers, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I was humbled by how my young friends described love. I was reminded to keep loving, keep passing it on.
Keep the passion of the love of Jesus alive.
Spiritual Practice: Love
Ask God to love you. Keep loving and pass it on.
In God, Deborah