Peter told the Christ followers living under the tyrannical reign of Nero that they were to love one another with an intense (stretched-out) love (1 Pet. 4:8). It’s when our love is stretched that our strengths and weaknesses are revealed. It’s when our love is stretched that the maturity or immaturity of our faith is revealed.
A stretched-out love refuses to give in to the enemy-making machine (a la Fitch), holds on to compassion, stands with the hurting and vulnerable, resists the labeling and backbiting, forgives the insults, and chooses love when love is hard. It’s in these moments God shows himself strong and gives us supernatural strength to love with a stretched-out love.
Our love becomes resilient.
But if we quit, cave in to the enemy-making machine, ignore the suffering, pain, or rage of our brother and sister because we don’t prefer it or flat out dismiss it, we will possess a love that when stretched, breaks.
Over the coming days lean into the strength God supplies (1 Peter 4:11) and choose to love with a stretched-out love.