What does it mean to love each other deeply?
When trying to decide which Bible verse to use, I did what any ol’ guy or gal would do. I googled.
As I was reading through the list of verses, my eyes fell onto 1 Peter 4:8. It reads, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Love each other deeply.
Those four words hit me hard.
“This is it. This is the verse.” I thought, and I immediately began brainstorming and blowing up my friends’ phones (love y’all).
According to the dictionary, to love each other deeply is to love intensely, profoundly, greatly, extremely, completely, entirely. In other words, it means to love someone in a way that is entirely different from the status quo.
In Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love, she explains,
“This is why we live and breathe: for the love of Jesus, for the love of our own souls, for the love of our families and people, for the love of our neighbors and this world. This is all that will last. Honestly, it is all that matters. Goodness bears itself out in millions of ordinary ways across the globe, for the rich and poor, the famous and the unknown, in enormous measures and tiny, holy moments…through ordinary work, people can be set free, valued, and changed, including yourself…a worthy life involves loving as loved folks do, sharing the ridiculous mercy God spoiled us with first. It means restoring people, in ordinary conversations and regular encounters.”
I absolutely love that.
Restoring people in ordinary conversations and regular encounters is exactly what Jesus did. He loved others in such a profound way, onlookers were impacted.
Jesus touched the untouchable.
He had eyes to see the unseen, ears to hear the unheard.
People were drawn to Jesus because of how well He loved everyone. His love inspired onlookers. It sparked curiosity in nonbelievers.
John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The command to love each other deeply is calling us forth and out to display the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) to all people, at all times, in all ways. Not just those who agree with us or those who are easy to love.
We’re called to love others in a way that is unlike the rest of the world. It’s this kind of love that restores the broken and heals the wounded.
Hatmaker goes on to say,
“There is a clear correlation between how we treat each other and how a watching world will feel about Jesus. What should our neighbors deduce from our loving-kindness toward one another? That we obviously belong to Jesus, because what other explanation exists for such beautiful community? It should be so compelling that others interpret it as otherworldly – these people must belong to God. And according to Jesus, God’s calling card is love. If folks don’t recognize God is good by watching His people, then we have tragically derailed.”
I’m guilty of complicating the definition of love and turning it into something it’s not.
More times than I’d like to admit, loving my neighbor is the last thing on my list because it’s hard. It’s not always my first instinct to forgive or ask for forgiveness. There are times I don’t feel like showing grace or mercy. I’m not always in the mood to be peaceful.
Loving like Jesus is no simple task and I fail at it daily.
Obviously, I’m not selling these shirts because I have it all together (because I most certainly do not). I’m selling these t-shirts because I need this reminder every day and every moment of my life.
I need it when I don’t feel like putting others first and when I don’t feel like being gentle; I need it when I don’t feel like showing someone the same grace I’d expect them to show me and when keeping the peace doesn’t interest me.
To love each other deeply is to choose to love others when loving them in that moment isn’t the easiest thing to do. THAT’S the way of Jesus.
It’s no coincidence the two greatest commandments are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
We’re called to love God and love each other deeply.
It is my prayer that these t-shirts hold us accountable and challenge us to make a difference in the lives of those around us by loving them in a way that is profoundly different from the status quo…in a way that is worth paying attention to…in a way that impacts even onlookers…in a way that sparks curiosity in nonbelievers!
The t-shirts are short and to the point because love isn’t complicated. They’re COMFORT COLORS (God’s gift to mankind) and they’re available in FOUR different colors: Blue Jean, Seafoam, Crimson, and Moss.
They are $20.00 and you can buy them by clicking here.
SHOUTOUT to both Kasey Carr (give her Facebook photography page a “LIKE”) and Bella Sacco for taking the time out of their day (again) to pose and take pictures. I’m so thankful for them!