More from the project. Hope it helps! -MDP-
“He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends” Proverbs 17:9, NKJ ; “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” Proverbs 17:9, NAS
What a valuable gem this verse is to the Body of Christ! This very morning, I awoke to headlines in the national news about a young man who was arrested for public intoxication and indecency. It is St Patrick’s Day, so I figured the guy was just getting an early start. The problem is that this man’s face and name is attached to a movement that has gained national attention to bring justice to a tyrant that is exploiting children in a third world country! This thing has actually caught momentum with our government officials and military! My first thought when I first saw the headline was: WTH?… I hate the ^#@%*’n devil! My second thought was: wonder who is going to love this guy through this Niagara Falls of shame that is about to hammer down on him? The third thought was: we need to focus on the good here (stopping crimes against children), keep moving forward and not get emotionally hung up and lose momentum because of one person’s stumbling. Surely, we can get past this tiny blip on the radar? Right… surely we can? Right?
Scripture is full of instructions and encouragement to forgive and restore people from their stumbling. Even when Peter questioned the Lord about how many times is forgiveness appropriate, he got a response that pretty much spoke to all of us that forgiveness is always required… yeah, every single time. Here, check it out for yourself: Matthew 18:21-22 and Luke 17:3-4.
The red-letter stuff is serious business no doubt, but the thing I saw in today’s Proverb was the process of love in any act of real restoration. The Hebrew word for conceal or covers means to plump, to fill up the gaps; and by implication it suggests to cover one’s shame or nakedness; to hide a person who is overwhelmed or exposed. I think it’s probably not necessary to point this out, but I will anyway, we hide them for their benefit and not because we are embarrassed or we’re trying to deny something. The fact that we are vested in them, regardless of their crap, confirms that we are well aware of the failure and are clearly in touch with the fact that we are also vulnerable to moral failure. But, giving them the space, covering, filling the gaps, protecting their heart, as they attempt to rebound from the bump in their road, is the same way the Lord has restored all of us. This is totally the love of Jesus! People who are hurting because of their own sin or bad choices, can’t be loved any better than this. Solomon also gives us a contrast: the person who is lovingly restored, but won’t change and continues to sin. We already have our orders that we have to forgive, but their cycle of sin does separate them from those who have already shown a vast capacity to love them through their mess. This is where we have to trust God that eventually they’ll open their eyes and see the gift they have had in your covering love.
How comfortable are you with talking about the moral failures of people you know or know of in the public’s eye? What emotions surface in you when you get a bad report on someone? What’s the hardest walk you’ve ever made with another person’s sin?