1 Peter 1:3-9
Once upon a time, our family knew a little girl named, Shelby. Shelby and her brother were very abused children, in every sense of the word. To give you some indication about how severe their abuse was, Shelby’s brother had his teeth knocked out with a coffee mug by his own mother. Unfortunately, Shelby’s abuse was also sexual by her own father. When I met Shelby, she was about 10 years old.
At one point, my husband and I thought that we might would make good parents for Shelby. And so, Shelby came to spend a week with us in our home…
In Peter’s letter, the gospel writer paints a beautiful picture for Jesus’ believers: We have new birth (v.3); We have an inheritance that is kept in heaven for us (v.4); We are protected by the power of God (v.5); We are more precious than gold (v.7); And, we will receive the outcome of our faith – the salvation of our souls (v.9). Honestly, I just don’t know if it could be any more wonderful than that!
But really what stands so clear for me, is how much Jesus loves me and loves the world! He demonstrates his love for us by his death on the cross and through the resurrection! There is no one on this earth that loves me more than that! You see…Because of Jesus Christ, I know what love looks like. I know what it means to be truly loved and to show that love to someone else – to be able to forgive, to sacrifice for the sake of others, and perhaps even be willing to lay down my life.
I’ll never forget that week with Shelby staying with us. This child had never been loved. She had no idea what it meant for someone else to love her. Every night consisted of night terrors and the pure fear of her own suffering and abuse that haunted her. Shelby did not have the ability to love others or show her love for others, because she herself, had never been loved.
St. Peter states, “Although you have not seen him, you love him.” We love him because he has first loved us. It’s the only way. We love our moms and dads, because they first loved us. We are not born with the ability to love others. We are not born with the ability to forgive others. We need Jesus Christ to lead us and live in our hearts so that we too, can demonstrate love for each other. It is the only way.
Let us pray…Gracious God, you have shown us the way to love because you have first loved us. We witness you on the cross for our sake. We know that you broke the barrier of sin and death. Lord God, help us to love others as you have loved us! Amen.