Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. (Proverbs 10:12)
Love covers. It doesn’t hide things. There’s a difference between a covering that hides and a covering that covers. The covering that hides is a blanket thrown over a child for a game of peekaboo. Or it’s an attempt to hide something that shouldn’t be hidden, such as the strategic placement of a piece of paper over a school paper that requires a parent signature. The parent sees the paper on top and doesn’t realize that he’s actually signing the paper underneath. (Do any parents actually fall for this one?) Or it’s rearranging decorations or furniture to hide the flaw.
Covering to hide is deception. Hiding always is. It can be an innocent game like peekaboo but most of the time we hide something, the deception is more severe.
Love cannot hide or deceive. Remember, we’re referring to biblical love, God’s love. And God doesn’t deceive. It’s not consistent with His character. He is truth, and He can only be truth. Yet His love covers. It covers transgressions, wrongdoing.
God’s cover of love conceals something from view because He has dealt with it. Consider how He covered the earth with water during the flood in Genesis. The covering was His proclamation of having dealt with the sin in the world. Remember, He didn’t cover everything. He provided a continuation of life through the instructions He gave Noah.
God’s love is the ultimate covering, because only He can fully forgive transgressions and offenses. We can, too, but it is because of His love that we forgive. It is through His forgiveness that we can forgive others. God covers our sin and sees us as redeemed. He doesn’t continually peek under the covering and check to make sure that sin is still there, reminding Him of what we’re capable of doing based on what we’ve done. He already knows what we’re capable of doing. We don’t surprise Him nearly as much as we surprise ourselves.
We, too, through God’s love, can forgive others. If we try to do it in our own way and strength, we’re playing the game of peekaboo. We toss the blanket over the offense, but we look under it every now and then. It pops up from time to time, reminding us that the offense is still there. Our attempt to cover is simply hiding. It’s not a true covering.
When we forgive as God forgives, with love as the foundation, the covering is complete. It’s not because we put forth more effort or forgive more completely than before; it’s that God’s forgiveness is different than ours. Ours is incomplete. It’s deceptive. God’s never is. We have to yield to Him in order to completely forgive as He forgives. It’s not between us and the other person as much as it’s between us and God. Forgiveness is complete not because we let the person off the hook but because we take them off our hook and onto God’s.
Just because we forgive someone doesn’t mean that person has worked through it with God. Each person has to deal with their own stuff between them and God—including you. If you try to forgive someone, even based in God’s forgiveness, without accepting His forgiveness of yourself, you’ll likely struggle. Yielding to God’s forgiveness is personal, whether you’re presenting yourself or your relationship with someone else to Him.
If you’re struggling with a forgiveness issue, whether it’s between you and God or you and someone else, focus on your love relationship with God. Seek His presence. All forgiveness comes from God and His love, so make sure you always start there.
Dear God, You know my forgiveness issues. You know what I’m hanging onto, and I’m ready to grow. It doesn’t mean I can completely let go yet, and I want to be honest about that, but I want to grow. I want to quit struggling with no progress and struggle through, moving on to a better place. Teach me how to live Your love out loud. Show me Your character through Your forgiveness. Give me the boldness and the peace to follow Your example of love.