Summary: How "love covers a multitude of sins."
Last week we began the series on teamwork and we covered "How to Show Love to Others." We looked at 1 Peter 4:8a – "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other."
Today we’re going to cover the last part of 1 Peter 4:8: "For love covers a multitude of sins."
That’s it, just one phrase. That’s our consideration today: "For love covers a multitude of sins."
We’re going to zero in on that one phrase today.
This truth is so important that it is also taught in the Old Testament in Proverbs 10:12 (CEV) "Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs others do."
Sometimes the very thing that makes loving others challenging to you is the fact that they have weaknesses. So the Bible says what you have to do is overlook some sins, cover those sins - not in the sense of pretending that they don’t exist or condoning them, but as is seen in the context, you have to love others in spite of their faults and failures. You have to love them and not be judgmental, not turn your back on them just because they do or say stupid things or because they don’t always act the way you want them to.
Last week we emphasized that Jesus commanded us to love one another – so we’ve got to find a way, His way, of accomplishing that love for each other. We’ve got to find a way of loving others even though they act strange sometimes.
We also saw last week that He taught us to love others as He loved us, and He certainly loved us in spite of our defects and mess-ups - God loves us unconditionally. So we have to love others in spite of the fact that they get on our nerves sometimes; in spite of the fact that they fail; in spite of the fact that they aren’t perfect and are difficult to get along with at times.
The church, the body of Christ, is the place for all of us to experience unconditional love. This is the place to pass on God’s unconditional love for others. And when I say this is the place, I don’t just mean this building, I mean this body, this fellowship.
Last Sunday night, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" aired an episode, some of you may have seen it, about the makeover of the home of a single lady who had adopted seven children with disabilities. A couple of the young people were in wheel chairs; some were challenged in other ways. I don’t know whether or not the lady in this episode is a Christian but I do know she was exhibiting Christlikeness. What she is doing is very heroic. They did a makeover of her house, which included a lot of helpful amenities for these children with disabilities.
I thought to myself, "these kids feel love and safety in this lady’s home in spite of their physical challenges."
That reminds me of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is a place where people are to be loved and feel safe in spite of their imperfections. If you ought be able to go anywhere and be loved in spite of your warts and blemishes it ought to be where people gather to worship the True and Living God!
But in order for that to happen we’ve got to look beyond the faults and mistakes of others. Just like the lady in the home makeover episode who loved those kids in spite of their physical disabilities, we’ve got to love one another in spite of social disabilities.
We’ve got to learn and practice behavior that pleases God in this area. We can’t just say, "so and so is nice one time when you see him and grumpy the next time, so I’m avoiding him," or, "I don’t want to have anything to do with her because she behaves so immaturely in this area or that area." You have to love others even when they are hot and cold in their behavior. Someone may act cold one day because they are facing a private battle. You never know what people might have on their minds. You have to cut them some slack.
We should all work on the areas in which we need to grow but we should also all work on loving others while they’re growing.
The big question we’re going to look to God’s Word for answers is: how can you do that? How can you "cover" the sins of others – how can you love them in spite of the fact that they sometimes do and say wrong things? It is essential that we learn and practice looking beyond the faults and mistakes of others because you have to do this to work together well as a team.