by Heather Tietz
Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently.
1 Peter 1:22
Meerkats love their communities. Perhaps you’ve seen these furry creatures following one another around dirt mounds at nature reserves or at the zoo. Meerkats live in protective clans. They coach, care for, and put their lives at risk for each other. While one stands guard, the others safely forage for food. Older meerkats coach young ones to hunt. They even guard meerkat babies that aren’t their own, putting their lives at risk when snakes or eagles approach. Meerkats aren’t independent. Their eyes are always on the lookout for their meerkat neighbor.
Perhaps meerkats can’t really love one another. God has simply written into their genes good citizenship skills. But they are a good example for us.
God writes in Hebrews 10:24-25 a request that His children build a loving community, one built on 1 Corinthians 13, one built on love, one built on outward looking, other looking - being patient with our Christian neighbor who makes mistakes, being kind even when they fail to be, not envying their situation or their things and not flaunting ours, not being rude in word, or tone of voice, not lashing out in anger. But instead being ready to protect, trust, and hope for them.
When we fail, when they fail us, we will try again and again, using Jesus math, seventy times seven. We can do it. We can love better than the meerkat; we can love like Jesus.