According to the legend of the Five Kernels of Corn, the Pilgrims would reflect on the fourth kernel. It reminded each of the Pilgrims of that precious gift of those who loved them. Family, old friends and their new friends, the American Indians, were among those precious loved ones who showed their love daily.
As we sit at our tables, it is so important to be thankful for those who love us, but it is equally important to be the ones who love others. In order to be loved, we must truly express love to others deeply.
In the movie, “The Great Dictator”, Charlie Chaplin, in what is considered by most as one of the best speeches of all time, said, “You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural!”
Look very closely at what he says about those who are unloved. “Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural!” If you are loved, you cannot help but return that love to others. It is virtually impossible for you not to love others especially when others express their love for you.
Think about it in this way. It is often said that smiling is contagious. If one person smiles, everyone smiles. When one person laughs, everyone laughs as well. Good feelings, like love, are the same way. When we give love, we receive love. Whether you give or receive love, you receive a gift and are blessed.
In chapter four of his first epistle, Peter writes, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
Peter uses a phrase, “deep love”, to show that our love for one another cannot be a superficial love. We tend to use the word love in so many ways. We will say that we love a good book or that we love chocolate cake.
The Greeks have three different words for love. Each carries a different sort of meaning. The most profound and deepest of the words is “agape”. Agape refers to unconditional love. It is the highest form of love and charity. That word is used exclusively in the Bible when referring to God’s love for us.
In the third chapter of the Gospel of John, John writes, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
It is that type of love that we should have for one another. That deep love that can cover a multitude of sins. It is that sort of love that God has for each of us. He loved us so much that He gave his son as our sacrifice to fulfill the needs of the Mosaic law. Jesus, out of love for us, took on the sins of the world and paid our debt. When he did that, the law was fulfilled and each of us received that precious gift of eternal life. That gift is given to each of us freely and out of love. All we have to do is receive it.
God’s love for us is that something that we share with others. Peter, when talking about that “deep love”, tells us that we must do the same. We must love unconditionally and out of charity for all. When we love in that way, we can forgive those around us. As we forgive, we come together as a family. As a family, we help one another.
Peter writes, in chapter one of his first epistle, “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
When we accept God’s gift of his love as expressed through the sacrifice of his son, Christ Jesus, we are not only cleansed of our sins but we also have a holy obligation to sincerely love all those who are brothers and sisters. Peter refers to that “deep love” and tells us that it comes from the whole of our hearts.
In order for us to truly love unconditionally, it must be done with all of our hearts. It is not enough to simply say the word, love, to tell them how much they mean to us. We must show them daily how much we truly love them. By being understanding and honest with them, we show others love. By helping them when they have needs, we show others love. By just being there, we show others love.
As we show love to others, we receive love in return. In short, the more you put in; the more you get out. Love is just that way. When love is returned to you, it pays a massive dividend. As you feel that love, you want to give even more to those around you.
When you sit with your family at the Thanksgiving table either physically or virtually, tell them how much you love them and they will bless you by telling you how much they love you. By remembering the blessings of being loved, we see the love of our Heavenly Father manifested in this world. As we deeply love one another, we can stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.