God has a way of whispering certain words over and over again to my soul. Usually he is reminding me to keep my mouth shut (see "The Hoover Dam And My Mouth"). Lately, however, the recurring refrain has been those beautifully expressed, but hard-to-live words delivered by the Apostle Paul:
When Paul talks about "bearing all things," he means that "love rooted in God's love keeps silent about unfavorable matters." In other words, love is engaged in a holy cover-up. There are many opportunities for this because people often disappoint us.
I started to write a litany of things people do that "tick me off," but that's not necessary. Why hog the stage. You may have frustrations of your own. So go ahead, make this personal, just fill in the blanks:
I was disappointed when __________________ (name of person) did/did not ____________________ ("offending" action).
Love puts up with a lot of junk. It bites its tongue, it endures snubs, it doesn't get touchy when ignored, forgotten, or pushed aside. It goes "the extra mile." Of course we know that love also speaks up -- love confronts wrong doing, love does not allow conflict to go underground, love shares the last 10% (click here for more on that).
Loving people is living in tension. There are times we speak up and there are time we cover-up. Since this post is about "covering up," let's think about WHY we cover, conceal, and keep confidential some unfavorable matters. In short, the answer is Jesus. Jesus said:
Jesus gives the admonition, "love one another." Jesus also gives the example, "as I have loved you."
- Why do I love? Because Jesus did.
- Why do I put up with a lot of junk? Because Jesus did.
- Why do I practice a holy cover-up? Because Jesus did.
Jesus made possible the costly cover-up for my sin through his death and resurrection. It is constantly dwelling on his love for me that helps me demonstrate his love to others.
Gratefully, what Jesus commands he also empowers. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," Paul writes in Philippians 4:13. That includes the power you and I need to practice the holy cover-up today.
- "Love rooted in God's love ..." from Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (1073). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
- Melick, R. R. (1991). Vol. 32: Philippians, Colossians, Philemon. The New American Commentary (303). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.