“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
– 1 Peter 4.8
Perhaps the most direct and difficult commandments of the Bible have to do with love. The Old Testament Law is written on the foundation of loving God with all of our hearts, minds and strength (Deut 6.5, Matt 22.37). And beyond that, Jesus commands us to love one another in the same way we love ourselves.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Matt 22.39
Scripture gives us a wide array of teachings on love, to help us understand how exactly we can (and should) love one another as ourselves. Most of us give ourselves a lot of leeway and grace. Did you overreact in that situation, did you indulge that pesky sin? Have you allowed an aspect of your personality to get overgrown or annoying? Are you so far down the path of rebellion, pride or ego that you cannot even see it anymore?
Insomuch as we feed our own indulgences and make allowances for putting our feet in our mouths, or “slipping up”, we should give grace to one another when our friends, neighbors or acquaintances when they put their feet in their mouths, slip up, or engage in that particularly annoying habit. We must be fervent in our love for one another and let love cover a multitude of sins.
There are times when we must confront ourselves in our own sin and when we must confront one another. The most loving thing we can do for ourselves and others is to seek Spiritual well being, and if I have a blind spot in my life, I need others to point it out. If you have a blind spot in your life, it is necessary for your friends to point it out to you. If someone in your life is continually practicing a sin, it is your God-given responsibility hold them accountable and help them grown and mature.
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
– Gal 6.1-2
When we confront sin in someone else, we must also be mindful of ourselves and our own sin. None of us will ever be perfect and without sin, therefore it will always be sinful people confronting other sinful people. We often shy away from that confrontation asking ourselves, “Who am I to call him out?” considering our own tendencies and sinfulness to be grounds of disqualification for holding others accountable. But Scripture is clear: we must hold one another accountable and all the while considering our own tendencies so that we will not be tempted too. We are gentle, understanding and compassionate in our efforts because we, too, fall into temptation so easily.
Love. This is the outworking and the fruit of love, to push one another on to holiness.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
– 1 Cor 13.1-3
Without love we are nothing. We can preform great acts and accomplish much, but unless we are rooted in and driven by the love of God, we are nothing.
Do you love God today? Do you love your neighbor? No one has to teach us how to love ourselves; we are constantly seeking our own best and our own interests. But let us consider that measure by which we love ourselves and examine if that is the same measure by which we love one another. Cover a multitude of sins. Seek one another’s best interests. Hold one another accountable. Be humble. And make allowance for one another.