“Love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8b
I don’t know about you, but the common application of this verse has always troubled me.
Which sins should I look over?
How often should I ignore the sins of others?
Does God do that with me?
Unfortunately, if you’ve heard that true love “covers up” sin by ignoring it, then you were subjected to the same poor interpretation that I was for so long.
Let’s look at one Old Testament verse and two New Testament verses that correctly interpret this idea of covering sin:
1. Psalm 85:2 “You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin.” (emphasis mine)
2. Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.” (emphasis mine)
3. James 5:20 “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (emphasis mine)
So, what’s the application?
1. Nowhere in Scripture are Christians told that love ignores sin. In fact, the number of passages that would blatantly contradict that concept are prevalent.
2. The four passages we looked at are, in fact, reminding us that the most loving and Christ-honoring thing we can do in the face of sin is to have a spirit of forgiveness. This interpretation is highly supported by numerous passages.
3. Therefore, don’t ever feel responsible to ignore sin. Ever.
4. Instead, in a spirit of love and forgiveness, speak to the erring brother about his standing before God in an attempt to find reconciliation.
5. Rebuking, reproving, and admonishing can be the most loving things when they’re done with the right attitude of restoration.