“Above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”1
I have always been aware of love overlooking mistakes, inadequacies, quirks, and frustrating things about others. But this verse actually addresses love covering sin. Not just the random “I forgot to put that on my calendar,” or the friend that chews loudly. But sin—the things that hurt us, that separate us from God, that make it hard for us to love or forgive others, the things we know we could do better but aren’t really trying.
Let me tell you how this spoke to me, with my husband, my kids, my loved ones. In each of these wonderful people, I could identify things that are wrong—shortcomings, faults, and yes, sins. And of course, this goes both ways, and they absolutely can do the same with me! But sometimes I feel so little grace for them, and sometimes, I might even feel justified in my stance. I don’t want to compromise, to allow evil into our lives—but, really, who can be held to such a standard?
This is a hard concept for me to express, because I feel like it’s all too easy to consistently fall on one extreme or the other—either “all grace,” which sometimes does flirt with compromise and acceptance of sin, or “all truth,” which leads me to being harsh and judgmental, unlike how Jesus would be. The reality is that both these extremes affect our usefulness to God and our relationship with others.
The balance is a place where truth can be exalted as it should be, but grace can be given, as it also should be. God’s Word provides a guide for life—and it can certainly change someone’s life—but I don’t have the ability to make anyone righteous, and that’s not my job. My job is to have love, which God’s Word says covers a multitude of sins.
I’ll think about that the next time my teenager has an attitude, or my husband doesn’t react to my friendly reminder in the way I’d hoped, or I hear my friend get angry at another driver as I’m on the phone with her, and I’ll try to cover it with that big, huge, amazing love that caused “Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”2