Love anyway: 1 Peter 4.1–11 (16 May 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: 1 Peter 4.1–11

Peter compares what the lives of believers ought to be with what he sees around him of the lives of 'pagans' – those who aren't Jews, but who worship the old gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome or the Eastern divinities. None of these deities provided any real moral framework for living; they were just like humans, only stronger.

We shouldn't be quick to condemn the lives of others today, just because they aren't believers. Christian-inspired ideas of right and wrong have embedded themselves into our society's ways of thinking whether modern unbelievers realise it or not. But still: Christians, says Peter, ought to be different. We are to live better (verse 3).

However, he is realistic about our limitations, which is why we have verse 8: 'Above everything, love one another deeply, because love covers over many sins.' He knows we won't always live up to what we ought to be, but his answer isn't based on a legalistic formula. He urges us – like the writer of 1 John – to love one another (3.11). If we love one another, we won't judge each other harshly. We'll try even harder with people we don't particularly like or sympathise with. If we notice their failings at all, it will be in the context of love for them.

It's often much easier to condemn than it is to love. Peter's words are deeply challenging, but they are key to how we live together as believers.

Pray

Pray

God, help me to see the good in people rather than the bad. And when I see something I don't like, help me to love them anyway, as Christ loved me and gave himself for me.

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