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.
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!