Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1Peter 4:8
I have really struggled with this verse, especially the past few months. I have mulled it over in my mind, over and over again. Constantly thinking about and trying to figure out what this really means and what it looks like in daily, real life.
Do you not approach someone about their sin? Do you not talk about it? How do you *cover* someone's sin? It doesn't seem right to cover it up, does it? Doesn't that simply sound like "enabling" them to continue in their sin if there is never any exposure or accountability?
Sunday, after church it dawned on me *exactly* what this verse means! There were two specific instances where a person revealed something they had done in their past. Looking at either of these people, you never would have guessed what they had done. Neither appeared to be *that type* of person. They were Christians now. God loving and fearing people. Their lives had been so transformed that you were shocked to hear of their past.
THAT is it! It has nothing to do w/ me at all. It is not me who "covers" and it is not up to me to try. The love that covers a sin is the transforming power of the grace of God at work in someone's life. The grace that transformed Paul, a persecutor of the church and murderer of Christians, into one of the greatest preachers of all time.
But this grace and love is not only for a guy we hear stories about who lived 1000's of years ago. This grace, that is sufficient, is about the murderer sitting right next to you at church. Did you even know you were sitting next to a murderer? Probably not. What about a prostitute? Do you even know anything about the church-goer next to you? Of course you don't know and wouldn't know just by looking at them. Because they are no longer those people!
Every Sunday, previously broken people come to church. People who's lives have been so transformed you would never imagine what they have been through. A man, who has spent years in prison for murder-right.next.to.you. This is real.
God is Love. Only He has the power to transform a person into something nothing like their original selves. I've met the sweetest, most virtuous and admirable women only to be shocked that they once led promiscuous lives. Years ago, I remember thinking *I* wanted to be like that. I wanted people to see me as a Godly woman so that when they heard of my past--they'd be surprised. Who wants to wear a scarlet letter their whole lives?
That's what God does. It's not hiding the sin. It's covering a person with so much grace that they are nearly unrecognizable when compared to their life before they met Christ.
A woman told me the other day that when she looked at me, she felt envious and only saw strength. Have you NOT seen me breaking down, blubbering at church all these months? NO! What other's see in us, is the Spirit of God. He projects what He sees, through us.
I have felt strong and thought of myself strong my entire life. Yet, I see and hear God breaking down that strength of self as I encounter situation after situation where I am brought low, humbled, made weak. Something amazing is happening...the weaker I feel, the more dependent on Christ I become and I appear to others, "strong". The more I rely on Christ, the more His Spirit has room to shine in my life.
Less of me...more of Him.
There are Christians all over who are living transformed lives. Ask them. Share your own life story. Share the grace you have received in your life. It's your story. There is no rebuttal. You have been saved through grace--tell us, tell me, how.
I want to hear about Christ's redemptive work. I want to hear about changed lives. Your story, my story, it brings Hope. When you accept Christ's grace, you become the message of hope. You carry it in your heart. I am encouraged when I hear about transformed lives. Your story gives me hope--how truly nothing is impossible with God.
THAT is how Love covers. It is God that covers because He is love. His spirit pours over and through you. His grace covers you as you are clothed in righteousness. You can speak freely about your past because it is no longer WHO you are. You're identity is found solely in Christ. You are not the sum of your sins.
I don't have the power to cover an offense. I can forgive. I can say I love. I can never change who you are or the way you view yourself. Only God can do that. God can show you how He sees you. A new creation, the old is made new.
It was never about 'cover up' to begin with. It's always been about transformation.