– Practice Loving
“And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.” (1 Peter 3:8 TLB)
Jesus referred to love as the greatest commandment of all. In fact, He called it the only commandment- love for God and men (Matthew 22:37-40). Paul carried on from there and told us that it is the greatest virtue of all (1 Corinthians 13:13). However, even though now we can love without any complications by virtue of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God in us- being His fruit, we still have to work at practicing it to make it truly effectual (1 John 4:8).
So, unless we love those around us, we are in fact disproving our identity in God. And in our theme verse, Peter tells us how we can begin.
He tells us to live happily with each other (that is, treating others good and kindly even when they don’t reciprocate because truly only a happy person can make others happy) and that we be filled with empathy and sympathy towards them (that is, treating them not as they deserve but as Christ would- with compassion); loving them with tenderness and humility (that is, without prejudice). And then in the subsequent verse, he explains further. He said “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it” (v. 9 TLB).
Remember, as I have always said, love is the greatest form of spirituality, and kindness is its most practical form. Everything loses its value if not done with love (see 1 Corinthians 13:2); so practice loving others today, for by it only shall people know that you are God’s (John 13:35).
Heavenly Father, I thank you for loving me despite my inadequacies, and for filling my heart and spirit with the capacity to love others. Help me to be kind even to those who persecute me; to love even those who hate me. Help me to live in the light and love of Christ every day of my life, thus exhibiting His light and love to all around me. Amen.