v 5. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
This is a formidable list of things that Peter suggests we should add to our faith; and at the summit what do we find – Love! To have ‘Brotherly affection’ sounds pretty good to me, but love goes beyond even that. Nor does Peter limit himself in any way at all; it is love for everyone! That is incredibly inclusive. It was all very well and good to think yesterday of love for Jesus, but that can seem rather nebulous, perhaps vague or impracticable. Love for my next door neighbour, or the noisy youth who spoils my evenings by revving his car in the road, or the awkward customer who argues at the till, isn’t that just too much to ask? This comes a bit too close to the bone for many of us. It is, however, love of this kind that makes us productive as children of God (v 8) – and by that I sense Peter means we become more than just ‘useful’, we become those who help to build the Kingdom of God – we produce something in our own lives and in the lives of others.
Love for everyone is the model God has set in front of us because it reflects His quality of love for us. God has not stinted on love even for those who have offended Him most.
Just maybe God is inviting you to extend your own concept of love to include the very people who cause you the most grief.