There are many times that I have deserved to be reprimanded by Jesus that he hasn’t. He just isn’t a punisher although I hardly stop to reflect on just how generous He is with grace that overflows, His love miracle. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” And to top it off, He has loved us in such a way that His love has covered our sins, completely hidden from His view. Romans 4:7-8 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” The thing that floors me the most about Jesus is that He had the power to bring calamity upon anyone. He could have extinguished any soul from existence. But instead of causing what people really deserved, He holds out for redemption. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him as much as He knew that Peter would deny Him. In neither case did Jesus try to stop them nor did He punish them after the fact. He simply continued to love. Sometimes love is carried out by withholding the reprimands that we deserve. Peter looked Jesus in the eyes and swore he would not ever deny him and then while Jesus faced a brutal public lashing and crucifixion, Peter (also known as Simon Peter) denied Jesus three times. Jesus had not only known with certainty that this would happen, he announced in advance that it would. Then this Lord, the beholder of miracle love, loved Simon Peter so much that just after Jesus was resurrected from the grave, He appeared to him first. The Bible is not specific about their encounter but by the way that Peter carried out the remainder of his life in ministry, Jesus must have loved him boldly in those private and likely difficult moments.
What if we were to adopt this model instead of aiming to give people what they deserve, whether it is our stubborn children, the friend who stabs us in the back, or the co-worker who never commits her fair share to the workload? What if our bold, Christ-like love could motivate people into a life that blesses others? What if we were to sew so much love that a harvest of bountiful beauty would completely shield a world of transgressions from His sight? That He would pick you because you loved so well and that He would pick the one right next to you because your love covered the multitude of her sins too. I’m telling you, this miracle of love… it is the key to all things. It is the key to joy and comfort. It is the key to the eradication of fear. Love is the key to curing hopelessness and it is the key to preventing evil from raging like wild fires.
No wonder Jesus revised all of the commandments down to two: Love God and love others. And no wonder we are challenged to see that if we love Jesus we ought to walk as He walked, and that the evidence of our allegiance can be seen in our travels, whether we walk in love or whether we walk without leaving any trace of it at all.