Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
– Proverbs 17:9
What are the 2 greatest commands in Scripture? The first would be to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is like it; to love you neighbor as yourself. Now we are really good at loving ourselves right? I mean, everything we do, we do to make ourselves happy. Whether we eat or drink, we do all to bring ourselves joy. We need not work at loving ourselves. Daily though we struggle to live up to God’s command to love others just as we love ourselves. It’s hard right? It’s hard to love others, especially other sinners.
Our call here today in this Proverb is once again to love, and the way we love others is by covering one’s offense. So what is an offense? Simply put, an offense is any wrong done unto us. It’s something that causes a person to be hurt, angry, or upset. We often say, “I am offended that you would say such a thing”. Now obviously I think it’s safe to say that we have all been offended. And when you are offended, what is your natural tendency? What do you tend to do? Do you just cover it up? Doyou pretend that nothing happened? No, probably not. Not if you are like me. My natural tendency when someone wrongs me is to get even. To make sure justice prevails. “They will pay for this!” is my cry.
If I’m driving down the road and someone cuts in front of me, before I even know what I’m doing, I lay on the horn, speed up on their tail, and make some type of hand motion (hopefully without using any fingers). What naturally happens is that I seek revenge. Now what if this happens with one of our friends or family? Maybe one who is close to us offends us by some silly comment. We get offended and say something snarky back. What happens is that the offense is separating us, as sins of anger and bitterness creep in and take root. Before we know it the offense has separated us, fellowship is broken and God’s law is transgressed.
So the question is, “How do we cover an offense when we are full of rage?” I don’t know about you but I don’t have the magic button that I can push that just let’s me release all feeling. Well, we must look to God. We must look to Jesus Christ who became sin for us that we might become righteous in Him. We must look to the Gospel. God created us. We rebelled sinning against Him. We offended Him, yet He covered us with grace and forgiveness, with the blood of the perfect Lamb of God. If you think that the offense committed against you was big, and it very well might have been big, think again at how many miserable filthy sins you have committed against the Holy Creator God. Yet He still covers you. He still showers mercy and grace upon you! Meditate on the good news when you are filled with wrath; when you feel powerless to forgive your offender. God’s love will empower you to cover the offense and restore your relationship. “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”
I close with an exhortation from 1 Peter where the Lord’s people are surrounded by difficulty. Know that in times of trial it seems that our patience grows thin, and offenses are always on the rise. In this situation Peter says “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” –1 Peter 4:8. Remember that it was Christ our Lord, our Savior who covered the multitude of our sins by taking the due wrath of God upon Himself. May we be filled with this love today, and may we cover those who offend us.