Day 16—The Difference between Covering and Covering Up.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.—1 Peter 4:8

If you hang around church folk very long, you will hear them speak about “covering”. I remember when I first heard this phrase; I assumed they were talking about covering up. But there is a huge difference between covering and covering up.

There is only one time in the New Testament that the word “cover” is used in that context, and that is in 1Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

Sometimes this passage is misinterpreted to mean that our love for each other blots out our sin. Make no mistake, the only love that can cancel out sin is the love of Jesus manifested in His death on the cross. What Peter is talking about here is the unconditional love and acceptance that should be present in the Body of Christ creating an environment where we feel safe and secure to confess our sins to one another and repent.

Sadly, in some church fellowships that love and acceptance is not present. This results in an environment where we dare not confess our faults to each other for fear we will become exposed and put through a gossip mill. There is no doubt in my mind that the epidemic we are currently seeing in moral failure, divorces, and scandals among church leaders and pastors has it’s roots in the lack of “covering love” present in the church. In most cases, these Leaders and Pastors may have been too proud or too isolated to seek out accountability partners. For every high profile leader who falls, there are scores of Deacons, Elders, Teachers, and others in the church who suffer the same fate out of the spotlight. This is why the divorce rate is higher in the church than outside the church!

This lack of “covering love” in the church is the spirit of the Pharisees, not that of Jesus! When Jesus encountered those struggling with sin He responded with compassion and understanding, saying “I don’t condemn you.” He did this, even though He is the only person who has the right to condemn sinners.

You and I don’t have the right. We are like the Pharisees with rocks in their hands waiting to throw them at the sinful woman; when Jesus reminded them of their own sin, one by one they dropped their stones and walked away, knowing they were every bit as guilty as she was. Covering up your sin will only result in repeating the same behavior.

So through prayer find someone in your fellowship who you can be transparent with, and ask them to help you be accountable.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord, thank You for putting me in a body of believers that I can be accountable to and who won’t gossip about my sins or shortcomings, but will pray with me and for me. Help us Father, Your children to truly edify and pray for each other the way You intend for us to. In Jesus name, I pray Amen.

Verses for additional study

Hebrew 10:24-25

1Thessalonians 4:11