“ Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” ~ 1 Peter 1:22-23.
The thought that hits me as I read this passage is that we too often do things that are harmful to those we say we love; and according to my understanding of our love-walk through Christ, that fact proves the lack of our maturity and lack of full understanding of the way of love that God desires and destined us to have for one another.
True, Agapé love leaves no ungodly scars on those we profess to love. True Agapé love always does what is best for those we love, for true Agapé love does no harm. In fact, scripture says that “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” ~ Romans 13:10.
For, “‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you” ~ 1 Peter 1:24-25.
Learning to love, as God desires and designed us to, is vitally important because life is too short. Whether separated by death or the death of relationship due to sin’s destruction, life is too short to waste even a moment on anything less than to love one another from the heart. Leaving people scarred and marred by our sin against them brings difficulty to life that makes their usefulness to God – and ours – more difficult as all struggle to heal from sin’s wake. And one sin can lead to another as protective lines come up to separate us from one another. The solution?
“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” ~ 1 Peter 2:1-3.
True repentance and turning from our sin is vital to restoration of relationships. Repenting our failure to truly love those around us is to practice the law of James 4:8-10: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
God can and will restore our stance in life if we, in sincerity, repent with mourning humility the sin we committed because we failed to love those God blessed us to have in our lives, especially repenting our failure to truly love. True repentance focuses on one’s own part in the sin. When talking about drawing near to God, it does not matter what was done against “me”. If I want right relations with God that leads to some degree of restoration with others, all that matters is that I repent my part and leave what others did to God, for Him to deal with them.
One reason our focus must be on our personal sin, not counting the sins of others before Him, as a tattletale trying to make one’s sin more palatable, is another thing we must realize with repentance. Besides repenting being a tattletale, trying to take a little of the heat off our own sin, when our failure to truly love commits sin against another, leading to them stumbling in their love walk, we must repent of being a stumbling block to them because of our failed love for them.
When we can truthfully proclaim “Have mercy on me, a sinner,” without pointing to the splinters in the lives of those we sinned against, then we are truly practicing 1 Corinthians 13 love.
“…Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….”
And as I reread that Corinthians passage, I see a new-to-me meaning of the phrase “…does not take into account a wrong suffered….” I’ve always heard that taught to say that we are not to add up sins as in a tally, constantly bringing up the past in our present discord. But as I read that in light of the turn this writing has taken, I see that we are not to take into account a wrong suffered as if it makes our sin somehow more palatable, saying, “It is okay that I sinned as I did what I did because of what they did.” Taking into account what someone else did to us and using it as excuse for us to sin, then saying, like Adam did, “She made me do it,” is not repentance. It is blame game.
True love repents of “my” sin without bringing up theirs. When we reach a love walk that not only repents of what we did without bringing up what was done to us, but more so we practice a love that chooses to not sin against those we love, no matter what they do to us, that is maturity in our love walk that will take us far in life.
True love says, “I love you, therefore I will do right by you no matter what you do to me; and if I do sin against you, showing the smallness of my love for you, I will accept responsibility for what I did without numbering your sins against me as excuse.”
How is your love walk, beloved? Do business with God today, and let’s press forward to live out for all to see the abiding Agapé that God gives to us and calls on us to give in His name, as representing Him.