8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
— 1 Peter 4: 8-10 (KJV)
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
— 2 Peter 1:5-10
This past week I was traveling and a lady sat next to me on the plane. I typically spend plane time reading so I try not to talk to people and the truth is I don’t want them to talk to me because I’m usually focused on reading.
This lady noticed that I was reading something Biblical and commented that it is a good thing I was reading Godly material and then she referenced that she reads Jesus Calling devotionals. I mentioned that I had recommended it to several people and then I tried to get back to reading.
Five minutes later she said, you must be in ministry…I said yes I am why do you ask? She referenced the book and then she began to talk about her church. She went on to tell me about how she was very involved in her church and how her children were involved. She also was part of their worship design ministry.
Then all of a sudden, as she began to talk about other things, she slipped and said she was looking forward to drinking booze. She later began to use profanity.
I began to tell her that I preached about personal demons last Sunday and that these were personal demons she should deal with, and she agreed.
The point of this is that I had developed a warm impression of what appeared to be a Godly woman. This woman represents many of us in this church today who have good hearts and love the Lord but should we love each other less because of the personal demons in our lives? NO. The fact of the matter is that personal demons can offend sometimes but that should not affect your love for the other person. Here are three things that I would like you to know that will help in your love for others in spite of their demons.
Light Shines Through Hospitality
This text and other areas of the Bible encourage us to show hospitality to strangers and even when personal demons show themselves in strangers especially in the church, Christians should not lose their protocol of being hospitable. That’s a Christian’s protocol. This text tells us not to grumble and don’t complain. I was able to confront that lady in a nice way because I remained hospitable to her and she was open to hearing what I had to say.
Real Love Is Like An Instrument
When we show love in spite of someone else’s personal demons God is glorified. When we are intentional about loving in spite of personal demons or personality flaws, using our love to make a difference in someone’s life, change takes place. Showing love versus hate can bring out the best in someone else. There is nothing wrong with calling out a demon in a loving way. If you can do it in love, you can shape someone’s life. A pair of clippers is not just used to cut hair but it is to bring out the best look in a man or a woman. Use the love in your heart to bring out the very best in the person in your life.
Love Persuades Your Effectiveness
One of the things I like about the 2 Peter 1:5-10 text is that it is in essence saying that when we love like God calls us to love, good stuff starts to happen in our lives. Notice what Peter says about the right qualities creating effectiveness in our lives.
In 2004 I read a book called Man in the Mirror, I began to stand in the mirror and see the spots that were affecting my self-control, my Godliness. I started looking at how I could love my wife the way she wanted to be loved, not just like I wanted to love her and that’s when the increase began to happen.
When you want increase and when you want to get results in your relationships, above all things love when it feels awkward, love when you feel empty. When you are a good steward of God’s grace, he spreads more grace on your life. Love them in spite of their demons and you will see results not only in their lives but in your own lives.
The Rev. Elijah Wray is pastor of Wyatt’s Chapel Baptist Church. This column is the sermon he delivered this past Sunday.