Finding Peace Through Love
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12)
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Covers serve different purposes. Some are meant to hide a person (who pulls the covers over herself in bed) to be invisible to other people. Others protect people or things from sun, snow, or rain, such as carports or tarps over equipment. Both of these are meant to either conceal or protect something or someone. A covering may also make something look more presentable, like a window covering dresses up a window, or a book cover attracts new readers. Our verses refer to a covering of offenses or sins. Of course, nothing is hidden from God, and there is no need to protect anything from him. But love attracts and invites others to engage with him and with us. These principles apply to relationships between people, who wound each other with our offenses and sins, either intentionally or unintentionally.
The Reformation Study Bible reminds us that hatred toward others causes our society to become fragmented as relationships deteriorate, one-by-one, or in groups that oppose each other. Selfishness seeks to have its way, regardless of the consequences, and those who operate in self-justification enjoy reminding us of our blunders and “unforgivable” offenses. However, when we love by choice, we seek the best for others, even our enemies. Like a poncho, our love covers the errors of others rather than expose them, with the forgiveness that we have received from Jesus Christ. We love as we seek the best for others, protecting them and our relationship from suffering further. (1) Loving others we keep no record of their sins. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) When Peter asked Jesus about forgiving his brothers seven times, our Lord responded, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22)
When we become practiced at loving others, we feel slighted much less often, especially when offended unintentionally. Today will you practice the love that covers all offenses if someone has insulted or hurt you? Do you lack peace? How might your love restore harmony to the relationship or situation?
* The Reformation Study Bible, Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8, Reformation Trust Publishing (Ligonier Ministries), Sanford, Fl., 2015.