1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
My all-time favorite comic strip is "Peanuts" created by Charles Schultz. As a child, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the funnies in the daily newspaper. I would read them all, but save "Peanuts", the best, for last.
Charlie Brown? I always feel so sorry for him. Sensitive, inquiring, dumped upon. He tugs at my heartstrings . . .
Snoopy? Bring on the Red Baron and Woodstock! Smarter than the average beagle! The embodiment of suave.
Lucy? Loud mouth! Her psychological advice not worth the five cents she charges! Talk about personal baggage . . .
Schroeder? Introspective and patient. Beethoven is my most beloved classical composer, too.
Pig-Pen? What a mess! Reminds me of the mess we create in our own lives.
Peppermint Patty? Abrasive. Boisterous. Insecure beneath the bravado.
And, Linus? The thumb-sucking, blanket-toting philosopher. Innocence and wisdom in the balance. The character I love the most!
For years, I have a red-felt banner of Linus hanging in my room. The quote on the banner reads: "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand."
Isn't that the sad truth for so many of us?
We can be so altruistic and generous in our love for the human race. Yet, when it gets up front and personal, maintaining the type of love Peter describes in today's scripture is no piece of cake. The characters in the "Peanuts" cartoon reflect this all too well.
And, so do we.
Confrontations, disagreements, conflicts of opinion. At home, on the job, and, too often, at church.
Yes, you read it right: In the church.
Where we go to be fed the message of God's great love for us. To be reminded to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Bickering, arguing, gossiping . . .
Where is the peace which passes all understanding?
Competition, back-stabbing, power-struggles . . .
Where are the hands reaching out to help and heal?
A house divided cannot stand . . .
And, how will this broken and hurting world know of Christ's love, His gift of salvation, if we, as Christians, can't even share His love with one another?
It isn't enough to love mankind. We must love each individual as Christ loves us.
Will you say a prayer for your church today?
Let us pray: Father, we all sin and fall short of Your glory. Forgive us our sins. Help us to forgive others. Heal the wounds we have inflicted, knowingly or unknowingly, upon others. Heal our hearts by your saving grace. Amen.
I am thankful for the peacemakers in the world.
Psalms (120), 121, 122, 123 or 124, 125, 126, (127)
1 Peter 1:13-25