Read: Proverbs 17:9 & 17
He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends…A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
“A friend loves at all times!” There is a very complex and profound meaning in the Hebrew language for the word “all” in that sentence. Are you ready for this? It means…well…all. As in, all the time…always…morning, noon and night…24/7. Not sometimes, but all the time! That is when true love is active. It never takes a day off, never goes on a break, never needs a time out, doesn’t take naps. It is always on!
That is especially true when the object of one’s love is not so lovable. For sure, we would agree that love sticks with people through thick and thin, but thin has to include those times when the people we love have done things that cause the relationship to otherwise be on thin ice. Yeah, through thick, and especially in thin. That is the real test of love.
And the truest test of real love comes when the loved one offends. That is when true love chooses to cover the offense. Not ignore it–that is what we call avoidance or denial, which is never healthy for any relationship. Covering the offense doesn’t negate the appropriateness of confrontation or setting boundaries or expecting corrective action. No, love that covers an offense fully recognizes the pain, disrespect, selfishness and betrayal of the offender and chooses to pay the cost of the offense by absorbing it, forgiving it, and moving ahead without diminishing the love for the guilty one at all. It’s kind of like Jesus did for us on the cross, wouldn’t you say? By the way, that is exactly what Ephesians 4:32 calls us to do,
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.”
How did God forgive you? Rather than ignoring or avoiding your sin, he looked your repugnant sinfulness right in the eye and said, “my Son will take care of that! He’ll pay the penalty price in full. It’s on him!” He forgave you freely, fully, and forever removed the transgression from your account and wiped it from his memory bank. That is what it is to cover an offense–and that is the truest test of love there is.
If you want your love to be a real love, then it is to that kind of loving you are called. It won’t be easy; in fact it will be the hardest thing you will be called to do. But being the kind of Christ-follower you are, you are up to it! And that’s a good thing since you’re likely going to be called upon to exercise that kind of covering love sooner than you think.
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Since your love is likely to be tested soon, take a moment to proactively pray for the Holy Spirit’s help to offer an immediate response of covering love to your loved one when the offense comes your way.