Love Covers a Multitude of Sins: Both Yours and Mine
Our Naperville church plant, Cross of Christ Fellowship, is growing. As we grow, we hope to be develop God-honoring community, where people are known and cared for. True community—where believers are really known and share each others burdens (Gal 6:2)—is a place where temptations for division and sin abound. Personality differences, varying levels of maturity, cultural value distinctions, and areas of sanctification all can lead individuals to become divisive, cold in their love for each other, or full of self-righteous pride, envy or dissension. To be united, local church members must pursue an earnest love for each other.
Instructive is 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, have earnest love for one another, because “love covers a multitude of sins.” This love covers a multitude of sins, both our own and the sins of the others. (Note: covering of sin does NOT mean that our sins are paid for by our love [Jesus does this with his blood] and it doesn’t mean that there is never a place for confrontation [confrontation occurs, but is done and received in love and grace]).
Here’s some practical ways that love covers the sins of others and our own hearts in Christian community:
Sins of Others:
1. When a brother or sister in Christ hurts or offends you (out of immaturity or ignorance), graciously loving that person will cover up the further evil wanting revenge or of wanting to harshly rebuke/emotionally tear them down.
2. When another believer acts out of passivity or is over-bearing, if others show them gracious love, this prevents the evil of strife and quarreling.
3. When another Christian doesn’t meet your expectations—whether legitimate or non-legitimate— and you show them love, this heals your hurting heart and leads to contentment and joy in the community.
Sins of Self:
1. When we’re tempted to be jealous of another, if we repent and seek to love the one we’re jealous of, we’ll likely end up thankful for what God has given them and ourselves.
2. When we’re tempted to be full of self-pity or anxiously withdraw, loving others can cover these sins and lead us to engage and share our hearts.
3. When we’re tempted to be impatient or resentful, or angry, pursuing love leads to patience and gratitude.
Love covers a multitude of sins and unites communities together in Christ.
Friends, let us repent of not earnestly loving one another, remembering that Jesus died for our quarreling lovelessness, and love one another in the power of the Holy Spirit.