“What the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love sweet love, no, not just for some but for everyone.”
This Hal David-Burt Bacharach song made popular by Dionne Warwick had it right. But what did David mean by “love?” It’s likely it was the syrupy kind, rather than what Peter was talking about. Christian love takes a lot of effort, but most of all, it must be generated by a God-filled heart.
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit. 1 Peter 3:8
It is not natural to possess the ability to exhibit true sympathy for someone, which really would be better-termed empathy–to walk in someone’s shoes–to get the gist of the depth of concern. And who has the musical skill to write harmony? Not everyone for certain, so it must be gifted if you are otherwise tone deaf. And if you’ve got a sibling, it’s obvious that the bond to a brother would be stronger than to a bully or jerk, or worse, someone clingy and needy. Then there’s pulling off being kind 100% of the time. Who doesn’t get irritated and impatient with people? When you’re dealing with a bunch of misfits and buffoons, isn’t it a challenge not to see yourself as better than the rest? Who constantly reminds himself that “there but by the grace of God go I?”
The answer is hardly anyone! But with Christ all things are possible, even truly loving one another.
Maybe that’s what David means by “sweet love.”