1 Peter 4:8 - 'Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it, because love covers a multitude of sins.'

My brain was doing somersaults this morning while I tried to be a good saint and read a whole chapter without stopping. You know, because there's so much fodder for the flock in this passage that at least 543 redundant sermons could jump off the page.

Ok, so that's not the whole reason. when I say 'somersaults', I mean the acrobatic turns of a tired, hopped-up-on-caffeine mind, not necessarily revelations of great importance. Hey, I can't be perfect, folks. *grin* At verse 1, which reminded me to crucify my flesh as Christ lovingly sacrificed His earthly body for us, I was primed and ready to whip out a devotion on daily crucifixion, but somewhere around verse 3, I started a grocery list. Don't judge me. I was back on board by verse 6ish. ;o)

I screeched to a halt - mid-somersault - at verse 8. Bible.com has a handy-dandy clickable feature that translates a passage into whichever of the 7 bajillion translations you choose, so I clicked around until it really started to sink in. My favorite version was The Message - 'love as if your life depended on it'.

Wow. I'm pretty sure I've never loved like my life depends on it, because, frankly, I've never felt an overwhelming sense that I would surely perish from lack of loving on humanity. Sure, I love people, but sometimes I love people most when I don't have to deal with them.

But does my life really, really depend on unconditional love? All the time, all the people?

Apparently, life [as I seek to live it] is completely tied to love. 'Love' [or a derivative of the word] is mentioned in the KJV 442 times. Jesus, in all the wisdom of the ages, knew that He'd have to mention it more than once to get the point across. Especially to me and my acrobatic noggin. He got specific, too - in Matt. 22:37-38:

"Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them." The Message

If I'm going to be more than Jesus talk - if I claim to live a life committed to Him, it is absolutely non-negotiable. My life [and yours, 'cause I'm not the only one here, sheesh!] depends on loving people.

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