1 Peter 1.3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you,
5 who by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials.
7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ--
8 whom not having known you love; in whom, though now you don’t see him, yet believing, you rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory--
9 receiving the result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 3.8 ESV Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 4.7-9 ESV The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Life is short. The time you have with family and friends and in this world, is short. Even if the end of this age is not in the next few months, years or decades, our time on earth is short, like a vapor that appears for a moment and then is gone. Therefore, seeing that our time on earth is so short, we should live lives of self-control and be sober-minded for the sake of prayer. Prayer is a vital aspect of having healthy relationships with people. There are fleshly motivations, self-centered perspectives, as well as active and intelligent demonic forces that seek to destroy fellowship between people and with God. So we must live self-controlled, sober-mined lives for the sake of good prayer, focused prayer and effective prayer. An important part of having good fellowship with God and people is having a good prayer life.
Loving one another earnestly means our relationships can survive a multitude of sins, because love covers a multitude of sins. This does not mean that we condone sin, but it means that our relationships with others can survive the reality of sin, with which we all have to battle. Without earnest, sincere and authentic love, relationships will be poisoned by the reality of sin. No one is perfect, though we strive for perfection. If we expect others to be perfect, to never sin, to never disappoint us, to never hurt us, to never misunderstand us or misinterpret our motives or our words, then relationship will suffer, and possibly disintegrate. Why are there so many broken relationships? Why so many broken friendships, broken marriages, rifts between parents and children, siblings and church members? Probably because sin is a malady that affects us all, and unless we learn to love one another fervently, this reality of sin, this poison of sin, will destroy relationships. If we learn to love one another earnestly, relationships can survive and even thrive in spite of our continuing struggle to overcome selfishness and the messiness of human frailty.
We should show hospitality without grumbling, and this is more than just having people over for a drink or a meal. Hospitality is sometimes thought of as entertaining, throwing a party, or having friends over. It may be that in a superficial way, but remember that hospitality has the word “hospital” in it. Showing hospitality means to help people in the midst of their pain, to minister to people in the midst of their weakness and infirmity, to help people find strength and healing in their struggle with injury. If we think of hospitality as that of working with a patient at a hospital, we will probably be far more patient with those we live around, live with, and are called to love. Most people have suffered some kind of trauma in their lives, somewhere along the way, whether in childhood, in a work setting, among friends, or even at church. Many people live in a state of emotional or spiritual or relational handicap due to these hurts and traumas either from the past or in the present. If we can approach our relationship with people with kindness and understanding, a listening ear, a compassionate heart, and ideally with words and actions that can help bring healing to the heart and mind, then we will experience a deep fellowship with others as we become a conduit of the love and healing that God can bring through us.