Today we are looking at 1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (KJV) Charity is love. According to J. Vernon McGee in his commentary on 1 Peter, Peter is talking to Jewish colonies in Asia Minor that had escaped the persecution by Rome against Christians in Israel. Peter tells them that they should have an intense love for each other.
J. Vernon McGee says, “Peter is talking about our relations as believers today. The writer of the Proverbs said, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Prov. 10:12).” Christian love for each other stops wrong attitudes, back-biting, and dissension. What does Christian love look like?
Our first example is Jesus! The Bible tells us that Jesus had compassion for the people. He showed that in different ways. He showed His love by doing things. Love is an action, not an emotion. He showed His love by healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the multitudes, teaching them about God’s love, casting out demons, and mostly, by giving His life for us to pay for our sins. His sacrifice on the Cross is the greatest example of what love looks like. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NASB 1995)
Another example in the Bible is the friendship between Jonathan and David. They had a friendship and love for each other that was strong. They made a covenant with each other to support one another. In this covenant, Jonathan was to be David’s second in command when he became king, and in return, David was to protect Jonathan’s family. (1 Samuel 18:1-5, 20:16-177, 23:16-18) They showed their love and commitment to one another by sacrificing for each other. (1 Samuel 18:4) Jonathan gave garments and military clothes to David, in this way Jonathan was recognizing the fact that David would one day be king of Israel, instead of himself, and he submitted to God’s will and supported David. When Jonathan was killed in battle, David asked if there was anyone in Jonathan’s family that he could show kindness to. Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son who was crippled, was brought to David, and David took care of him by giving him back all the land taken from his family and invited him to eat at the king’s table regularly. (2 Samuel 9:1-13)
In my own life, Christian love has been displayed. When my first husband passed away and I was a widow for a few years, my church family stepped up. When my washer developed a huge hole in the tub, my friend paid for a new washer and one of the men of the church delivered it and set it up. When my dryer gave up the ghost, I came home to find a new dryer in my kitchen! My church has been there for me so many times. My family lives far away from me, and the church stepped up, prayed for me, and supported me when I went through trying times. That is showing Christian love! That is what a fervent love looks like.
When we show love like this to others, it allows the love of God to shine through us. Others see a sweetness and compassion in us, and it draws them to us, and we can share why we love as we do. If they are unbelievers, we can tell them how God loves them and shows His love to them. It allows the Holy Spirit to draw them to the saving knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ. When they experience that love for them, they notice, and that love can open doors to witness to them!
Today, show Christian love to someone. Let them see Jesus shine through you! Follow Peter’s admonition to “…love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV) Let’s show the love that Jesus had. This is true Christian love.