You know, there are some brethren who just drive me nuts. Should I admit that? I don’t know. I mean, sometimes people just drive me crazy. Not crazy insane, but crazy as in absurd frustration – to the point that I hesitate to associate with them. It could be the way they laugh, talk, think, sniff, eat, whatever. Surely, I am not alone in this. Perhaps, you are not affected like me, but certainly there are times when brethren rub you the wrong way. Where am I going with all this? I Peter 4.8-9.
In this context, Peter said that people outside the faith think Christians are strange and speak evil of us; and that Christians need self-control and a sober-mind. Then Peter says above all things Christians need to have fervent charity because it covers a multitude of sins. Fervent charity. Two words, one phrase, an absolute necessity.
Jesus stated that everyone will know that we are His disciples, when we love each other (John 13.35). However, brotherly kindness and good will are difficult to give when we believe the person receiving it is a complete unworthy dolt. Nevertheless, Scripture does not tell us that people have to earn our love. It implies that we are to give it. Why? Because God so loved the world He gave His Son (John 3.16) and gave His Son when we were sinners and enemies of His (Romans 5.8, 10). Humanity has not earned God’s love. Neither should anyone earn our love.
The KJV says to have “fervent charity among yourselves.” The ASV says “being fervent in your love” and the ESV says to “keep loving one another earnestly”. The challenge given is to love each other. This is no easy task for I am not a really loveable kind of person. I have quirks and stupidities. But, I am very much trying to be the Christian God wants me to be. As each of us are. We would not gather as an assembly if we did not want to be godly. This fervent charity is long-drawn-out, is earnest and intent, and is of such a nature that it does not quit. Granted, people are mean, rude and ugly – and maybe even in the Christian family.
It is fairly easy to love each other when things are good or just a little stressed. But it is the greatest challenge to continue loving each other in the face of real challenges, tribulations, and pain. Enduring each other is no easy task, but it is the Lord’s desire and hope that we endure so that we may be unified, and so that the world can know that we are His.
The world provides enough hurt and then kicks the dog when he is down, may it not be so among us. Let us cover the multitude of our sins and have fervent love toward one another.