If you had guests coming over during the holidays, did you panic because your house was a bit of a mess? Did you try to make your place look neater by hurriedly scooping up a bunch of out-of-place objects from around the house and hurling them onto a bed, then hiding them under a comforter or blanket?
I’m not saying I’ve ever done anything like this, of course. I’ve just heard of other people who have.
The truth is, a covering mercifully hides problems and makes things look better on the surface. We use make-up to cover imperfections in our complexion, and certain items of clothing to help camouflage problem areas of our figures.
Snow can have the same effect. We had an early snowfall here in November, so early that I hadn’t finished raking up all the autumn leaves or tidying the messy parts of the garden before the winter.
But the snow covered all evidence of the chores I’d left undone. It draped a mantle of pristine whiteness over the yard, smoothing it over and making it look neat and orderly. Objects underneath the snow were transformed into intriguing sculptures. To anyone walking by, the yard looked beautiful: they couldn’t see the mess that the snow was concealing.
Love is like this, too.
Scripture tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT). True love is charitable toward the faults of others, and shows kindness in the face of others’ imperfections. A loving person will sometimes turn a blind eye to something we’ve done wrong, and won’t reveal it to others.
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12 NIV).
Above all, love is the very essence of forgiveness. Just as God in His love covered our sins through the blood of Jesus, we should “cover” the sins of those who have wronged us by forgiving them and asking God to do so as well.
Love pardons and in most cases doesn’t expose the sins of others. It must be said that, on occasion, revealing someone’s sin may actually be a loving thing to do, especially if the person’s behaviour is harming others and needs to be stopped. In all cases, however, we should be motivated by a loving and forgiving attitude, as guided by the Holy Spirit.
“Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].” (1 Corinthians 13:5b Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)
Love drapes itself over our messiness, making us look better than we really are. The grimy and stained parts of our lives are mercifully covered up. To anyone walking by, all that’s visible is beauty.
Isn’t that the best cover-up of all?
© 2019 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.