“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers and overwhelms all transgressions..” Proverbs 10:12 (AMP)
“Hate” is a strong word. I mean it when talking about that annoying song on the radio that plays every 15 minutes…on EVERY. SINGLE. STATION. I also mean it in reference to cats and to pineapple on pizza. I mean it when I say I hate abuse and injustice and when talking about sicknesses and diseases. As Christians, though, we know that hating people, or in Biblical terms, our neighbor, is more than just wrong, it’s sinful. We’ve been commanded to love our neighbors and so with the barely tolerable ones in our lives we don’t hate them. We know better. We’re good Christians (let’s all collectively polish our halos). This verse, however, doesn’t stop at saying that hatred stirs up quarrels–it also tells us that “love covers and overwhelms some…”
“…ALL transgressions.” Ouch. This is a tough pill to swallow. Especially when we feel we have reasons to hate; we’re being told in this book of wisdom, that hating does no good, but instead that in loving, all our “reasons” to hate are both covered and overwhelmed. This means throwing out the burn list. It means, keeping short accounts of wrongs. In fact, to “cover” means to put something such as a cloth or lid on top of or in front of (something) in order to protect or conceal it. To “overwhelm” means to bury or drown beneath a huge mass–the huge mass being, in this case is LOVE.
Hard as it is, we have the perfect model of this kind of love in Jesus. While hanging on the cross and being cursed at, mocked, spit on and dying, he asks Father to forgive them for doing what they were doing. Jesus chose to extend forgiveness, to cover us and overwhelm our sin with his perfect love and through that, offer salvation to all of us. We also have the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives leading us on in this love that covers sin. Let’s be relying on him this week as we encounter difficult people or situations. Instead of stirring up hate and strife, let’s choose to cover people AND OURSELVES in love.
Father, thank you for your perfect love. Thank you Jesus that you teach us how to love well and set the example of loving others even through challenges. Holy Spirit, we ask that you work in our hearts and help us to choose love over hate and forgiveness over grudges. In your name, Jesus, amen.