Many believers are very intolerant with themselves and with others. Today’s verse says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” My brother, my sister, when the love of God is really planted in your heart, it will help you to be at peace with yourself. Most of the time, we are hard with ourselves or with others on things we ourselves are struggling with. The Bible also says: “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11). In other words, we, human beings, are not in a position to judge or condemn people (Matthew 7:1-2). Instead, true followers of Christ must forbear with and forgive one another, because we all fail one another one day or another (James 3:2). The problem is that it is too easy for us to notice the speck in someone else’s eye rather than seeing the log that is on ours (Matthew 7:3-5).
Indeed, love covers a multitude of sins, but not all sins. The Bible says we should distance ourselves from those who claim to be believers yet live immoral and destructive lives (1 Corinthians 5:11) and we should certainly not take part in unfruitful deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Besides, we are expected to “warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Why? because it is a Christian duty to always try to restore someone who is caught in a trespass gently to avoid missing the target by sinning too as we do so (Galatians 6:1), and to bring whoever has wandered from the truth back to the truth of the Word of God (James 5:19).
When someone does something that offends us, Jesus says we should talk with them and above all to try to win them for the Kingdom (Matthew 18:15-17). The way we do things is certainly not to scold, shame, condemn, or punish, but rather to jolt that person with the strong medicine of truth of the Word of God or the reality of the consequences they might not be aware of. Most of the time, when people are on the destructive path, they are unwilling to acknowledge it, confess it or take responsibility for it, so they minimise things, deny, lie, find excuses or blame others. And even if the Bible says: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13)…. even so, we still have to show them love!
Yes, we are called to be imitators of Christ and live a life of love; however, let’s be careful that as Christians, we do not put a heavy burden on people to do things that God himself does not require of them: what you consider bad from someone may not be bad for God: God Himself asked His prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute, while God condemns prostitution (Hosea 1:2). If you tend to look at what people do, you would surely have stood up to say Hosea had lost his mind, while He was actually doing the will of God! God is gracious to the saint and unrepentant sinner alike, but He does not have a close relationship with both! That is the only difference, because our sins separate us from Him (Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah 5:25). So, my friend, learn to love your brothers as you love yourself. Even go further by extending your love to your enemies, for it is a command of the Lord Jesus! Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.