Love at work

June 27, 2006 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

Via the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Brought up in small town and village communities, the New Testament writers knew that humans belonged to each other socially. Even when scattered by unrest and persecution, their sense of belonging was that of traditional rather than modern urban societies. Peters letter, like those of Paul, emphasises an added corporate dimension Christians belonged to each other in the fellowship of the love of God. The phrases each other and one another occur over and over again and are worth picking out for study.

Several times Peter emphasises this deep love, but here there is a rather enigmatic reason for loving sins are covered over by it. What does Peter mean by this? We know from other texts that it does not mean ignoring and condoning sin, pretending it has not happened, or, where we have authority, allowing others to get away with wrong. There is no doubt that we are called to practice love and justice.

Peter is talking here about the workings of Christian communities, and face-to-face relationships. The echo from Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs, suggests one meaning. When there is wrongdoing, dont make things worse by malicious gossip, by stirring up factions, by slogans and self-righteous public piety. Jesus said, If your brother or sister sins against you, go and show them their fault, just between the two of you. If they wont listen, then you may, in love, need to go further, involve witnesses and then higher authority, but dont start by destroying the possibility of a restoration of good relationships.

In a businesslike wider world the principle is the same. Love deals with wrongdoing in a way that does not condone, but leaves room for apology, forgiveness, recovery of esteem, because love is patient, kind, not self-seeking, not easily angered and keeps no record of wrong.

Margaret Killingray

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Entry filed under: Africa, Crime, Culture, Kenya, Literature, Media, Missions, Personals, Religion, Society, World.

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