“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
For the past several years I have been contemplating this verse – what does it truly mean? As a trauma survivor, my mind at first naturally went to justice. I value justice. ‘If we cover sins, they how do people change, learn and have consequences!?’.
More recently, as the LORD has done a great work in me, and my mind is a bit more renewed, and my heart a bit more healed… I am looking at this verse differently.
“…love each other deeply…”
What does love look like?
When I look through scriptures love looks like grace, mercy, and kindness. In Jeremiah 31, it speaks about the people of Israel after they were sent out by God into the wilderness, in order to draw them back to Him.
“This is what the LORD says: “The people who survived the sword found favor in the wilderness when Israel went to find rest.” The LORD appeared to him from afar: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.”
In response to God drawing His people with loving devotion, their response back to Him was one of repentance and a tenderizing of their heart:
‘You disciplined me severely,like an untrained calf. Restore me, and I will return, for You are the LORD my God. After I returned, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh in grief. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ Jeremiah.31:18-19
I believe this is what “love covers a multitude of sins” looks like. There was still discipline, but in the midst of what was right and just, there was kindness, mercy, and grace.
Another thing that comes to mind on this topic is the verse in Proverbs:
“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Prov. 17:14
Each one of us make so many mistakes every day. We hurt one another’s feelings, we make judgments that are not ours to make, nor usually are they correct, and we usually run over people in the quest for our agendas. Maybe that’s just all me…
My personality type is to work things out; to go after something and address an issue. I value transparency and humility. But I have also found it’s not always a good idea to “work something out” because in the process of explaining what I thought….I usually dig myself a deeper hole with someone, unintentionally.
So lately I have found that love covers what I think my friend did to frustrate or hurt me. Love covers how I feel they are letting me down.
And I don’t think “covering” something in this sense is like covering up someone’s illegal activity. We don’t cover up abuse, addictions and rebellion. But I believe that as I pour out my frustrations, anger and judgments to God… I am reminded that He is the one who can speak to them if it needs addressing, and usually in the process He will speak to me as well about my growth opportunities.
That reminds me of one last verse:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3
From one fellow traveler to another, blessings to you.