Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 3:8
Have you ever loved someone so much it physically hurt? Loved someone that it was a sacrifice beyond what you thought you could handle? Could only see what they “could be” instead of what they are? Yes, you answer? Then you have loved like Christ loves you.
The Greek word for “love” in the above verse is agape. The Biblical definition of that word is to “love deeply.” It’s the same word that is used in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. And Jesus describes it as the way He loves us in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.”
Now I will ask you again. Have you ever LOVED someone? Have you ever loved someone in the Biblical sense of love meaning agape them? Loved as Christ loves you, sacrificially, unconditionally, and persistently? Most can say they have but what happens when that love is tested to the degree Jesus’ love was tested for us? Think of the cross. Jesus is dying, bloody, bruised, and broken. The Bible says “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. He didn’t do anything wrong but loved us enough to take the punishment for us! Not sure if I can really grasp that. I struggle to comprehend that love for me. What is really difficult, what really brings it to reality is when God gives me someone to love the same way and I am reluctant. Have you been there? Maybe it was with your rebellious teenager, or a parent. Someone you love betrays you and God calls you to forgive him or her. Maybe it is someone God has placed in your life to love who won’t receive that love and it’s constant rejection. For me, it was my husband. After all the deception, the infidelity, and lies, God still gave me love for this man despite my desire to love him. I can remember on numerous occasions begging God to take away the love I had for him, to set me free. In those years of fighting it, I missed the blessing. I was given the opportunity to keep my heart soft, moldable, humble, filled with love. God was teaching me long suffering and increasing my faith. He loved me and now He was teaching me exactly how much by giving me that same love for my husband in the worst season of his life. That kind of love “covers over a multitude of sins.” It covered my sins of pride and rebellion and James’ sins of unfaithfulness and disobedience.
Has God given you the blessing of loving someone who is unlovable? Perhaps that person was like James, running from God, hurt and in sin, needing desperately to see God’s love was true and He wants to use you as His billboard to display His agape love.
I don’t want to minimize the pain, the constant heartache and agony of rejection that is associated with loving someone who can’t receive it. But, God’s promises are true! James is in heaven. God is faithful!
…I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8