Through the Valley series logo

1 Peter 4:1-8(CEB)

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered as a human, you should also arm yourselves with his way of thinking. This is because whoever suffers is finished with sin. As a result, they don’t live the rest of their human lives in ways determined by human desires but in ways determined by God’s will. You have wasted enough time doing what unbelievers desire—living in their unrestrained immorality and lust, their drunkenness and excessive feasting and wild parties, and their forbidden worship of idols. They think it’s strange that you don’t join in these activities with the same flood of unrestrained wickedness. So they slander you. They will have to reckon with the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead. Indeed, this is the reason the good news was also preached to the dead. This happened so that, although they were judged as humans according to human standards, they could live by the Spirit according to divine standards.The end of everything has come. Therefore, be self-controlled and clearheaded so you can pray. Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.


Have you ever heard, the “I have to love them, but I don’t have to like them” philosophy. We’re talking about Christians. The Bible tells us repeatedly that we love fellow Christians. But someone added the “I don’t have to like them” part. But  that type of thinking is wrong—dead wrong.

I don’t think it means everyone in your church is your best friend. But there is something sinister about it.

It’s also a philosophy I once accepted. But no longer.

Of course, rejecting it is one thing. Putting it into practice is the hard part. Before we really look at it, just imagine how changed the church would be if we truly loved each other like the Bible tells…make that, commands us.

Jerry Bridges’ “The Practice of Godliness” changed that. We’ve been studying the book during a weekly men’s Bible study group. The book has been a challenge—especially the second to last chapter.

We’ve been working on the “Fruits of the Spirit” during the past several months, things like patience, peace, humility, gentleness and others. Bridges saved what is likely the hardest until the end. But that’s also because it’s probably the most important. As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:14: “Love binds all the other virtues together in perfect unity.”

Bridges wrote that love is “very much a matter of actions rather than emotions.” He added that this emphasis could give the impression that emotion isn’t involved.

“We can even promote the ‘I can love him but I can’t like him’ type of attitude,” Bridges wrote. “The Bible does not support such an unbalanced concept of love.”

But many churches do. And even worse.

A  “Daily Bread” devotional thought was entitled: “What’s a Church For?” The writer discussed things churches have squabbled over, such issues as color of carpet, whether the choir should wear robes and even the setting of the thermostat. That stuff is ridiculous. Sure, we all have our preferences but it’s not about preferences. It’s about reaching the lost and loving one another.

And loving one another also means trying to like one another. At least I believe that’s what 1 Peter 1:22 says: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, with all your hearts.”

Our Scripture for this devotional in 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.”

It isn’t always easy. But then, you and I haven’t been the easiest people to love either. Still, God loves us even in our imperfection. We’re told in 1 John 4:20-21: “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

It’s also important to realize that love is a Fruit of the Spirit. We need to pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.”

On a practical note, spending time with someone can also help a relationship. Many times, I’ve been paired with people in small groups or even for dinner. They weren’t my first or even second choice. But those times have helped special relationships start to grow. And I’ve been blessed because of it.

We do need to love and like. But isn’t it much better that way?

By Rick Reed

I think it’s important for us to look at our philosophies and determine whether they are godly or not. We need to weed out the ungodly behaviors in our lives. But thank God we have a Savior to help us.

For Pondering & Prayer

Prayer: Our Lord, help us to use your example as I strive to not only love, but like all the members of my church, or churches if you are snowbirds. It isn’t always easy, but it is wonderful when we do. Amen