In 1 Peter 1:22 it says that Christians are to love one another “deeply, from the heart”. In our romanticised thinking about love, we can lose some of the impact of what it means to love ‘deeply’. The word for ‘deeply’ here means something like ‘at full stretch’. We might say ‘love each other with the pedal to the metal’, or ‘with the power turned all the way up to full’. It’s a practical word. It’s not just talking about having deep feelings towards the other members of our congregation. It’s about how we actually show that love to each other. It’s about diving to the depths of our ability to practically love one another and giving it all we've got.
I take it that this is something that we need to keep working at – otherwise Peter wouldn't feel the need to tell us to do it. Loving each other at full stretch needs attention, effort and determination. Loving each other at full stretch means sacrifice. That means that loving the other members of our congregation will cost us – it will cost us time, emotional and physical energy, money, whatever it takes. To love each other at full stretch means wanting to invest ourselves in the lives of the other people at church. At the very least that means getting to know each other.
Every one of us can identify someone else in our own congregation who we either don’t know at all or know very little about. Out of habit we gravitate to the people we know already. Show someone else you love them by breaking that habit and investing yourself in loving them just by starting to get to know them this weekend.
The kind of love we should love each other with doesn't hold back. We don’t love each other at ‘minimum’ or even ‘medium’. We need to keep working at loving each other at full stretch. The model of that kind of love is the way that Jesus has loved us. Reflect this week on what level you’re loving the others in your congregation at.
In Christ’s love,