Who doesn’t want to be loved? At the very core of our being, we desire affection, respect, consideration, and appreciation. We need it, even when we are in an unlovable state. We need to give it when others are in the same state.
To wholeheartedly love means much more than unconditional love. It means you make a conscious choice to love when you can see a plethora of reasons not to love. (Momentary disclaimer here: I’m not talking about remaining in an abusive or an enabling situation) To love wholeheartedly means you understand no one is perfect (including you) and that your attention, admiration, affection, and alignment will be completely and willingly given to the one you choose to love, in spite of the flaws.
In the scripture for today’s devotion, Peter admonishes the reader to remember that they have much for which to be grateful. He mentions all the things the believer was delivered from and that it would only be Christ-like to remember that the Gospel was preached for these things. He further continues his admonitions with some practical advice:
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8, NKJV).
In the past, when I read this scripture, I assumed it was referring to God loving us and His love would cover a multitude of our sins. Nope. It’s about us loving one another. It’s about BEARING ALL THINGS. Remembering the sin from which we were delivered will act as an incentive to love others WHOLEHEARTEDLY. That remembrance brings about gratefulness and an acknowledgment that God loved us with our flaws, so we should do the same for others.
Definition of “bear”:
to support the weight of : SUSTAIN; to hold above, on top, or aloft.
Loving wholeheartedly is supporting their weight when they cannot do it for themselves. It is sustaining them — relieving them when their strength is flagging; supplying them with sustenance; nourishing them. It’s about keeping them up, holding them above the things that would try to destroy them.
“Covering a multitude of sins” means not exposing the wrongs or differences in that person because you understand that deeply loving others will serve as protection from the blows of disrespect they may experience. And, you certainly hope that same treatment is shown to you. Because it’s certain none of us are without flaws, and we pray that when we “bear all things” for them, they will reciprocate. Whole-hearted love has a way of making that happen!