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“Covering vs Covering Up”

by Michelle on March 26th, 2009 in Spouses

Most of us are familiar
with 1 Peter 4:8 which says “Above all, love each other deeply, because
love covers over a multitude of sins.”  Unfortunately though I have
seen this Scripture misused often and even I have been guilty of such. 

I
remember when God was dealing with me for “mothering” my husband in
his sin. Yes; there was actually a time when I would feel
sorry
for him and coddle him in his sin, justifying his choices based on
how he was raised and what he missed out on as a child
etc. [What a crock! For reference- my husband has a brother a few years younger who was raised the same way and has chosen a path of integrity]
As God was dealing with me in all of that, He made it so clear to me that
“Love
covers a multitude of sins not covers
up
a multitude of sins”  Love seeks the highest good of the
other person even if that means discomfort to the other person or to
themselves. This is what Jesus did for us, isn’t it?

I had to
study that for myself and go deeper with God to understand what this Scripture
really meant.  Only God’s pure love can blot out a person’s sins. 

I
found a great on line resource when researching this Scripture [
Simply
Christians Australia Bible Study Resource]
1Peter
4:8; I couldn’t have written it any better and want to share it with you.


‘Your love
and my love has no power to blot out sin, or to modify the conditions under
which any person’s sin may be forgiven. Only the blood of Jesus can
blot out sin.

Your love
and my love can help sinners to face their sins and repent. Only in that way
can the multitude of sins be covered, not by turning a blind eye. This is
exactly what James tells us, and here is a good example of how we should
interpret one passage with another passage, letting the Bible be its own
interpreter. James says, “He who turns a sinner from the
error of his ways will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of
sins”
(Jas 5:20).

Love
is not a carpet under which to sweep people’s sin. Rather it is a light which
can reveal sin and lead a sinner to God’s love, mercy, and grace.
But your love cannot do the thing
which only the Savior’s love can do.

Some,
when considering how “love covers a multitude of
sins”
, think it means one person’s love nullifies another’s
bitterness. We may observe much bitterness in our fellows and feel powerless to
rid them of it. So we try to cover up their bitterness with our own outpouring
of love and sweetness.

The Lord
does not want any malice and “any root of
bitterness”
to be ignored or covered over. He wants it uncovered
and removed (Heb 12:15 Eph 4:31-32). Of course this does not mean that we must pick on our friends, neighbors, loved
one’s, and brethren, every time some trifling thing they say or do annoys us or
hurts our feelings or in some way disadvantages us. Such events are usually
excusable or unintentional and if we are sensible we will just “let it
drop” or “grin and bear it”. Rather, we are talking about
situations of substantial wrong, where there is real malice and evil
intention.

If you
have a room in your house in which the air is not fresh, you can spray an air
sweetener to cover up the smell, or you can install an exhaust fan and get rid
of the bad air. Which is better? To be a “spray-can Christian” or to be an “exhaust-fan Christian”?

If you
find that your drinking water has a bad taste, do you put sugar in the water,
or do you rather filter the water and purify it? Love is not sugar to sweeten
the bitterness around us. Rather, love is a fine purifier that gets rid of
wrong. True love does not hide and abide evil. It exposes and expels evil.

Yes, I know the Bible
says, “Overcome evil with good” (Rom
12:17-21),
and love will certainly do that. But the “good” we are to do in overcoming evil is not to
ignore the evil, but rather to confront that evil with righteousness.
The
principle is expressed in the saying, “If your enemy is
hungry, feed him”
(Rom 12:20). Love, being truthful,
does not pretend that an enemy is a friend or that his evildoing is of no
account. Love rather seeks to purify the evil with good. As we noticed earlier,
love seeks to “turn a sinner from the error of
his ways” and only by doing that can love “cover a multitude of sins
(Jas 5:20).”

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