When our kids were little, they each got to pick one hate food—something we promised never to put on their plates or expect them to eat. Our son hated carrots. Our daughter, potatoes. (Now that they’re in their twenties, I’m happy to report both food items are back on the menu.)
But hating people? That’s not an option. “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
How can we love others, even when it’s hard? This week’s verse points the way.
Hatred stirs up conflict,
but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up…
This kind of hatred goes beyond our emotions. It’s an ugly word that’s spoken or a spiteful action that’s taken. It’s a force of energy that “fuels” (VOICE) our anger, and “causes” (ERV) us to say or do things we wish we’d never said or done.
The Hebrew word, ur, means to “rouse or awaken.” That’s exactly what hatred feels like: a sleeping monster, stirring to life inside us.
What’s the source of our ill will toward others, however fleeting? In my experience, it usually boils down to fear. Fear of being overlooked, ignored, discounted. Fear of being unseen, unwanted, unnecessary. Fear of being invisible.
Much as I hate to admit it, when that fear is awakened, I sometimes lash out, speaking without thinking, which leads to the inevitable…
In a novel, conflict is a good thing. It’s what keeps the reader turning pages, eager to see how the story will turn out.
But in real life, “trouble” (CEV) isn’t a pleasant pastime, and “strife” (ESV) is bound to ruin your day. No one wants to work at a job or live in a house filled with “quarrels” (GW), “disputes” (CJB), and “arguments” (ERV).
Sometimes we manage to keep a lid on our emotions when we’re with friends, family, or coworkers, simply because so much is at stake. We can’t risk losing those vital relationships.
But let a telemarketer call during dinner or a sales clerk keep us waiting too long, and suddenly, without meaning to, we find ourselves embroiled in a verbal battle: “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows” (Psalm 64:3).
God knows how easily we can be drawn into such conflict, which is why he offers us a way out. An uplifting option. A much-needed recourse.
This isn’t divine love. It’s human love, born of God’s love for us. It’s “charity” (DRA) in the deepest sense. It’s caring about others, whether friends or strangers. It’s genuine compassion.
The best description of this kind of love? “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
On my best days? I wouldn’t dream of doing any of that stuff.
On my worst days? I’m capable of doing all of that stuff.
Especially the “self-seeking” part.
When I find myself asking questions like, “What’s in it for me?” or “How will this benefit me?” or “Why does this always happen to me?” then I know I’m off the mark.
What’s a foolish sinner to do? Throw herself at the mercy of God, who pours his perfect love through imperfect us, drowning our sins in the ocean of his grace.
God’s love for his people makes our love for others possible. Love “overlooks” (CEV), instead of looking down with disdain. Love “calms” (VOICE), rather than stirring up trouble. Love “forgives” (GNT), even as it fortifies. Love soon “makes up for” (NLT) whatever damage the enemy tries to inflict.
This kind of love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7), pressing beyond our changeable moods to offer mercy to a hurting world.
The Hebrew word, kasah, literally means “clothes, conceals, hides.” Love covers over the hatred, the hurt, the humiliation. As Eugene Peterson paraphrased it, “love pulls a quilt over the bickering” (MSG).
That word all covers even more than a queen-size comforter. When love is in the house, “transgressions” (ASV) are forgotten and “offenses” (CEB) are undone. Even “insults” (TLB) lose their sting and “rebellions” (VOICE) are quickly quashed.
Easter is behind us, but the cross is ever before us. Jesus willing covered all our sins, so we might extend his grace to others. No wonder we find this echo in the New Testament: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Now it’s your turn
- Since “love erases all sins by forgiving them” (NIRV), how does God’s love help you love and forgive others?
Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts by posting a comment below.
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Blessings to you as we breeze into beautiful May!
Your sister, Liz
P.S. Have you perhaps read my latest? Mercy Like Sunlight moves from winter to spring, from darkness to light, and from sorrow to a deep sense of joy. It’s an eBook exclusive, easily read in an evening, and just $3.99. Bless you for giving it a look!
I smiled when I read the statement made before the posted question… Written boldly without embellishment… Now it’s your turn ! ( exclamation mark mine). How does God’s love help me love and forgive others? His grace afforded toward me when I was still in my sins gives me courage and helps me recognise mynresponsibility… I have been forgiven so much…. Now it’s my turn!
Clever you, Esther. Exactly so!
I find it fairly easy to love others, just not myself.. and I was told that if I did not love myself then I didn’t really love God… OH YES I DO. Over the years, I am now 76, I found that human love was not always true, but the love of JESUS is PURE and TRUE…
YES!!! Exactly…..Now it’s my turn!! 🙂
Wow! I never really thought about hate being stemmed from our own
fears (how I did not come to this conclusion by the age of 40 should
make one wonder). Searching my heart though, you’ve again hit the nail
on the proverbial head. I work in a classroom with students who
exhibit challenging classroom behaviors. Now each time I’m frustrated,
I will envision Kasah-the covering. I will picture God sewing a
beautiful quilt especially created for them and my role is the
emotionally cover that child with his quilt. i must take myself out of
equation and put God’s love into it. Thanks for the renewing of my
mission assignment for my students.
Such good insights, April, and a vision we can all capture. Bless you for sharing your heart with us!
I am in an incredible situation right now…..and this is EXACTLY what God has been calling me to do. LOVE, love,and love…..genuinely. As GOD has loved and forgiven me….let it cover….let it be active and practical…..let it be from my toes and real…..even through the pain & stress. Even as the situation gets worse……let love do this. At the beginning I handled this in just the opposite way…..and yes, the conflict was AWFUL, then I humbled myself. In my pride I thought I knew what to do….but….God resists the proud and gives GRACE to the humble. WOW…..what a difference. In ME. Pray I will keep focused on Jesus…..this is no where near over. Thank-you, Liz for being a part of God’s message to me. Blessings!! <3 🙂
Faithful God, to know exactly what we need and when we need it. Praying for you right now, Colleen.
Liz….just wanted you to know things are starting to turn around!! I think more than anything, God needed ME to turn around..ha!! So very thankful for His word and showing me the attitude I should have. Not over yet,but,God is doing wonderful things!! Thanks so much for praying that day AND for the timely word!! Blessings 🙂
Thank you for sharing this background to this Scripture. I think this is probably my biggest battle with Satan. Although I had thought in my head that I had overcome it, while reading the article I realized in my heart it is still there. That fear is so strong. I do great at holding firm, until… I get certain phone calls, or have conversations with certain people, and no matter how much I plan going into the conversation to “not go there” for whatever reason I seem to offend them before I am done. I know that part of that is that their walk is not with the Lord. While I am trying to speak God’s truth into their life, what I say doesn’t come out to them as I meant it to. Please pray for forgiveness and a release of bitterness in my daughter’s life. That she may return to her relationship with God and that He will be able to work in her life in only a way He can.
So get EVERY word you’ve written, Marsha. Trusting God with you for your daughter’s relationship with Him.
As a pastors wife, we have just recently been through one of the most hurtful situations with an individual in the church. It came out of “left field” and it left my husband and myself wounded and baffled. This is a fresh wound. I have been struggling with forgiveness . Your verse this week is sooooo timely. I know I need to commit it and the others you included to memory. I need to remind myself that THE LORD LOVES THIS PERSON JUST AS MUCH AS HE LOVES ME. “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). The Lord is so good, and through His power I know that I can forgive and love this person again.
So right, Barby: God DOES love that person as much as He loves you. And He loves you COMPLETELY. Praying for healing and a return of your joy in ministry.
Sweet Barby – I’m so sorry for your pain. I’m a pastor’s wife and I know that heart-wrenching hurt too. Even the Psalmist in Psalm 55:12-14 knew of that ache, and this passage ministered to me and I hope it does you too.
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
14 We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.
I pray God will be near and dear to you as you get through this – and you will. Those who love much hurt much.
I am also a pastor wife. My husband and I also go through a lot in pastoring churches. It indeed hurts a lot but the Lord is still in charge. At times, He allows aversive situations to mold us, teach us and purify us. We need support from other pastors wives and friends. I pray that the Lord will provide at least one for you going through this journey.
Lizzie, as I read this I just wanted to cry…..far too many times do I let the frustrations of life come flowing through my mouth. Though sometimes it’s just the opposite, I shut down and say nothing knowing that silence is not so “golden”. Thank you once again for challenging me to always look to our Savior, remembering His word and actions to drive me back to what love and mercy really is. A simple: “I’m sorry” changes the course of a disaster waiting to happen. As does the acceptance of an apology. I can’t thank God enough for his love, forgiveness, grace and mercy that he has given me…..my prayer is that I would be more like Him, I’m fully aware that without God and what he’s done for me, I wouldn’t even think about His type of love or the need to forgive others. I’m also grateful for your ministry and how it encourages and challenges. May God continue to bless and use you to further His Kingdom.
What a tender heart you have, Debi. And such wise words: “A simple ‘I’m sorry’ changes the course of a disaster waiting to happen.” YES.
Like so many I have been dealing with this issue for over two years. Yep, I’m a slow learner. Your explanation as the source of the ill will hits the mark for me. My turn: I Peter 2:9-10 But you are a CHOSEN race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now You are God’s people, once you had no received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Through God’s word, I am enlightened, no longer subject to the confusion of the devil.
I’m thinking two years is some pretty quick learning, Jeana: for many of us, it’s been two decades! Thanks for sharing this powerful passage from 1 Peter. “Through God’s word, I am enlightened.” TRUTH.
I have a four-word prayer that I lift up often during those times when I’m not exhibiting the truth that “love is the more excellent way.” Here it is – “Sweeten me up Lord.” When I get tired, critical, and “out of sorts” as we Southerners say, I pray and recall to my heart just how much I’ve been forgiven and how much He loves me – and that I must do the same. There is a women’s prison in the next county from where I live. Jesus loves those women as much as he does me – a church-going pastor’s wife!
And as a quilter I especially loved Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of love pulling a quilt over the bickering. On a quilt I made a couple of years ago I put a label for the recipient that said “You are Covered In His Love!” And so are you sweet Lizzie. Thank you for the way you write and explain and share.
We must remember every one is God’s. Besides you may be entertaining angels at any time!
Good morning, Liz! Forgiveness is always a tough one for me. I tend to want to forgive what I consider to be “little” offenses, while not being so eager to forgive the “big” offenses. It is all the same in God’s eyes, though. Unforgiveness hurts the one who doesn’t forgive the most. If God’s son had to die on a cruel cross for my forgiveness, how can I not be willing to forgive others? God has grown me so much lately and I am beginning to forgive much easier than in the past. PTL! Happy and Blessed May!
This week I’ve been reminded, in a gentle way, of how far I’ve come from the previous life I was running after. I’m so grateful of His love and how all encompassing it is! We are so blessed!! Praying I can give this to others even when my heart isn’t willing.
Although I don’t quilt, I love the imagery. When my son was born, he had some serious medical issues and spent his first three weeks at Children’s, mostly in the nicu and cardiac ICU. At that time I was introduced to the Linus project. Basically, blankets are donated so each child has a security blanket. A tag with a message is attached to each. My son received a yellow blanket with colorful images of nursery rhymes printed on it. His favorite was hey diddle diddle. He carried that blanket everywhere for three years. That simple gift was love in so many ways. The love of a stranger who donated it. The love my child had for it. When i think of loving a child and what God sacrificed for us, I am humbled and I find it much easier to forgive.
Lizzie!!! We have a Bible study group just for Women Only at our church…we are proudly known as “Oasis” and our motto is “Women need women”. We recently did your “And The Girl’s Still Got It” study and I have to tell you that it impacted me and turned my life around. Maybe someday we could meet over coffee or tea and I could tell you about how I went from “FBG” to “A Princess of the One True God, My Savior and My King”. I can only forgive and love others because God has put a heart of compassion within this shell of a body…it’s sometimes the ONLY component of me that I can cling to that even closely resembles the heart of Christ!! He loved me totally, completely, unabashedly, unconditionally first. The Hound of Heaven pursues me still (thank you Jesus!) to make sure I stay within His embrace, protecting me from myself and the enemy that has already stolen too many of my blessings, joy and peace. Thank you for sharing your gift with love-starved women and men everywhere! Love ya Sistah!
I have found a lot of anger in my heart toward my fellow Christians in my church. There are a lot of cliques and often an atmosphere of “entitlement” and “self-righteousness” seems to me to be there. But this proverb has reminded me that I am far from perfect and that disparaging or cutting things I might say can stir up discord in the Body of Christ. I have forgiven my two ex-husbands, but have always found it hard to forgive my fellow Christians. But since i want God to forgive me that is just what I have to do.
How timely this message is for me!
Reminding me so clearly that character evolves from strife not peace!
What we do under pressure and how quickly we turn to our Holy Spirit’s advice, determines how much we grow in God.
You touched a nerve with your statement that our differences evolve from our fear of neglect etc.
Thank you Liz, you are a Godsend in my life!
Boy do I hear you this morning, Liz. All those times I’ve been impatient and wanting things my way, do come out of fear of rejection, and insecurity! I love your idea of the ocean of grace covering us in our sins! Warm water washing away my sins on a regular basis! I am currently struggling with the fact that I can’t go to Scotland with you because I shattered my thigh bone last January. I get so irritated so easily because one of my most important dreams is not happening. Now I can picture the ocean covering my sins. Travel mercies for you and the group next week. Love you!
Awaking the thought that my “hate” is really fear is amazing! Reminding me that God loves the person that my hate is directed to as much as He loves me was an eye opener. Mentally drawing a quilt of love over that “hated” person is such a calming thought.
Being a faithful member of a 12-step program that deals with helping me, I have indeed learned to call on my Higher Power and to Let Go & Let God! Before I was lead to this program, my hate just kept getting larger and larger. I didn’t realize that it was really fear driving that hate. Wish I had read this Proverb sooner and really understood it. Thank you so much for opening me eyes and heart to Proverbs.
I am certain that God will give me that mental picture of His quilt covering my “hate” target to help me stop and take note of what fear is driving that feeling.
Thank you, Liz, for opening my eyes to what our wondrous God does for ME!
love is something that at first seems easy. Like kindness, but loving someone who
Is mean because we believe differently. This is something that i will need to work on.
Wow! Liz and everyone, this is another post that I can definitely identify with everyone on. All I can say is ditto to everyone, there is not one person who posted, that I can not reply to that person, I identify with you for saying this or that. Thank you all for taking the words out of my thoughts also. I so love this Proverbs study, Liz, thank you so much!
Oh, want to wish everyone a very happy month of May. God has sent us here where I live lots of April showers so I’m looking for those May flowers soon.
A quilter myself I loved the part about covering someone with love. I envision that act calming a situation and bringing peace. I have some people who do get me going in the wrong direction. This gives me a new way to visualize how covering them in love could change both of us. I definitely need to work on this area of my life.
Thank you Liz; Once again you through Christ spoke to my heart. This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with for a couple of weeks now. Satan knows our weakness in this area too and gets hold of us and keeps it coming at us. Thank you for the lesson and scriptures to follow up on now. Your admission to the same struggles we all go through is exactly why we all love you so much !
I like what you said about not dreaming about doing the bad stuff at our best but being capable of all of it at our worst. Sobering and humbling. Praise Jesus He loved us at our worst.
I really like that “drowning our sins in the ocean of His grace.” I guess since we just had that huge rainstorm on Wednesday, I’m still thinking about water. But the ocean of His grace just sounds so relaxing – a whole lot different than the tension that I felt trying to drive in that rainstorm. Thank you for that image, Liz.
When I start to get upset with someone, I try to remember that I don’t know what that persons been through in their life! I want to see others through God’s eyes and love them with God’s love!! Yes, I fail… A lot, but I keep trying to keep this perspective! I keep taking that back pack off and placing it at Jesus feet!!
I try to think how I would feel if God stomped his foot, slammed the door, said hurtful things to me, or gave me the silent treatment. I don’t think I would like it very much. So this is where I give myself an attitude adjustment. I take a deep breath and remember how much God loves me and how he expects no less from me.
This is a toughy…so hard to have that ‘love’ when I just got tongue-lashed from someone across the desk…someone who is supposed to ‘love’ me…someone who I’ve been married to for almost 40 years… Yep, now that’s real conflict!
I’m thinking someone needs to read that verse about ‘self-control’…
I will read your blog again tomorrow Liz…I’m sure it will look much better to me then… 😉
Thanks for your great insight on each Proverb! I’m lovin’ every single one!
Well, knowing just how much grace I’ve been shown certainly helps me to turn around and show that love and grace to others. But in pondering over this verse, I kept thinking about the difference between “like” and “love.” I almost see the former as an emotion and the latter as an action. And as I’ve grown, I’ve come to view “like” as optional, but “love” as mandatory. If I want to be a Christ-follower, I’ve got to show love. The kind of love that is patient, kind, and keeps no record of wrongs. And maybe that’s how a Jesus-kind-of-love erases. It doesn’t keep a record and wipes the slate clean. Oddly enough, while our friends and family can most benefit from our “like”, I sometimes think that it’s those on the periphery that are most impacted by our “love”. Those counter-intuitive actions and choices that allow us to be the social center of God’s kindness. Those moments can touch a heart, smooth a conflict, and change the course of a day.