Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 NASB
It’s been said, “The performance that really counts is your last. It’s the only one most people will remember.” Each and every day, we all take a step closer to our final performance. Peter reminds us, “The end of all things is at hand . . . ” (1 Pet 4:7 ESV).
One of Peter’s resolute convictions is responsive compassion. We are told to “keep fervent” or deliberate in our love toward each other. Fervent literally means “to be stretched out” with commitment and conviction. The disciple writes, “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere (stretching) love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” (1 Pet 1:22 NLT)
Wuest writes, “The idea is that that of a love that is extended to reach the one needing love. It is the act of one who, instead of living a self-centered life, gives of himself to others.”
Stretching Love Hurts. Can you remember the first time you really stretched? It hurt. Tight muscles need to be stretched in order to be flexible. Being flexible in our love may mean setting aside our convenience, our comfort, or our calendars. Paul writes, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Gal 5:13 NLT)
Stretching Love Needs Help. Sometimes we need help stretching. And, the more we stretch, the easier it becomes. Paul reminds us “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Eph 4:2-3 NLT). We are burdened for each other, we are building each other up and we are bond together in peace.
Stretching Love Heals. Solomon reminds us, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Prov 10:12 NIV) Love covers insults, injuries and indiscretions . . . it doesn’t collect them. The well known “love chapter” encourages us, “it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Cor 13:5-7 NLT)
Oscar Wilde wrote, “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”
This life is too short to be self-centered and selfish. Decide to stretch and love . . . and let the garden God plants in your life be a defining moment.