God’s Word does much more than give us a new life; it gives us a new attitude towards others. Peter said, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
Since the Word has purified us we can love one another with a sincere love. The original meaning of the word sincere means “to be without a mask.” When the Greeks put on plays the actors would change their character by exchanging the mask that they held in front of their face. When Peter admonishes us to love each other with a sincere love he is directing us to love one another with a love that is not masked, or feigned.
That’s easier said than done isn’t it? We are pretty good at making small talk, joking and laughing with someone that we may inwardly despise. Instead of talking out our differences we would rather mask them. Or perhaps we have perfected the art of watching TV and holding a conversation at the same time? Instead of giving our spouse, brother and sister, or child our undivided attention we think that if we make a few comments and nod our head as if interested we can trick them into thinking that we really care about what they have to say. Is that what Peter had in mind when he talked about loving each other with an unmasked love? Hardly!
Sincere love takes work; there is no doubt about that. Our sinful nature wants us to believe that it’s a lot easier to go on despising someone and holding a grudge than talking things out. It also wants us to think that our time belongs to us and we can do with it what we want – even if that means ignoring the needs of others. While sincere love takes work God has given us a tool to help us overcome our masked love. As you plug into his Word you will see how God’s sincere love moved him to send his Son to die for our sins. The more we gaze at that love, the more we will reflect that sincere love to others.
But don’t just make sure that you remained plug into God’s Word; help others stay plugged in as well. Parents and grandparents, I’m especially thinking of you. There will no doubt be some tough days when it comes to raising your children. Because of sin, which they have inherited from you, your children won’t always want to listen or do as they have been told. Don’t despair. Start with prayer but don’t stop there. Use the Word to mold their attitudes and actions. Connect them to God’s power and the Word will change your child’s life.
Using the Word, however, doesn’t mean scolding your children when they have done something wrong and saying, “You’re making Jesus sad.” That’s a misuse of God’s Word. It’s like trying to get a radio-controlled car to move by throwing the batteries at the car instead of putting them inside of the car. You’ll get the car to move by throwing the batteries at it but only grudgingly and temporarily. Instead of throwing God’s Word at your children plug them into it. Make time to study God’s Word with your children. Take fifteen minutes every day after your evening meal or before your children go to bed to read a devotion. By plugging your children into the Word little by little you will see a difference in their lives.