When they first met, Edwin Stanton snubbed US president Abraham Lincoln personally and professionally—even referring to him as a “long-armed creature.” But Lincoln appreciated Stanton’s abilities and chose to forgive him, eventually appointing Stanton to a vital cabinet position during the Civil War. Stanton later grew to love Lincoln as a friend. It was Stanton who sat by Lincoln’s bed throughout the night after the president was shot at Ford’s Theater and whispered through tears on his passing, “Now he belongs to the ages.”
Reconciliation is a beautiful thing. The apostle Peter pointed followers of Jesus there when he wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Peter’s words cause me to wonder if he was thinking of his own denial of Jesus (Luke 22:54–62) and the forgiveness Jesus offered him (and us) through the cross.
The deep love Jesus demonstrated through His death on the cross frees us from the debt for our sins and opens the way for our reconciliation with God (Colossians 1:19–20). His forgiveness empowers us to forgive others as we realize we can’t forgive in our own strength and ask Him to help us. When we love others because our Savior loves them and forgive because He has forgiven us, God gives us strength to let go of the past and walk forward with Him into beautiful new places of grace.
You might think today’s reading is merely a list of commands Peter expects his readers to embrace. However, the statements in verse 11 are written in the form of urging or encouragement. This is evident by the beginning phrase “if anyone.” The challenges to those who speak (teach and preach) and to those who serve describe how these things are to be done—with confidence. The one who speaks is to speak with assurance that the message reflects the heart and mind of God, and the one who serves does so knowing that God’s strength will supply all that is needed for the task at hand. The result of such reliance? “That in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
For further study, see Knowing God Through 1 Peter at discoveryseries.org/sb242.