The Cover-Up

It is inevitable that we are going to be hurt by someone close to us. It could be a friend, a family member, or a brother or sister at church. Offense will come at us but we do not have to be offended and hurt. There is another response…it’s called the “cover-up.” (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of offended)

Back in the book of Genesis, we are told of such a cover-up. Noah (who, by the way, was called a very righteous man…but messed up) had become drunk and was found naked by his son, Ham. Ham mocked him and sought to expose his shame to his brothers. But Shem and Japheth, Noah’s other sons, came in, saw their father’s nakedness and shame and covered him with a blanket. They were blessed, but Ham and his descendants were cursed.

But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. So Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done to him. Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.” And he said: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant.” (Gen.9:23-27)

That is our duty. Proverbs 10:12 instructs us to cover the transgression that was done to us. The word cover means, “to conceal” and “to hide.” That is what true love does. It covers not merely little errors but also greater sins of every kind, by pardoning them, concealing them, and excusing them.

Now that does not mean that we are not to hold someone accountable for what they have done. We are, in love, to confront them with their sin with the purpose and hope of repentance and reconciliation. But we are not to broadcast their offense, nor are we to hold it against them. We are further reminded that if we conceal a transgression we are literally seeking love.

He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. (Pro.17:9)

In this verse, the word seek means, “to search in worship and prayer.”  When we are hurt and angered by the actions of someone, our flesh wants to lash out, hurt back, and punish the one who hurt us. But covering that transgression is the Spirit’s response that requires spiritual power that we gain only though worship and prayer.

Once we make the decision to cover the transgression there is another step in the process…forgetting. Paul tells us that love does not keep an ongoing account of the wrongs that someone has committed.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. (1 Cor.13:4-5 NLT)

So instead of being resentful, real love is forgiving…and forgetful. When someone wrongs us and we continue to remember and even dwell on it, we are keeping a record of wrongs. But the person filled with the forgiving love of God never seeks to remember…he seeks to forget.

One further instruction is given to us in Peter’s first letter. We must be fervent in covering wrongs.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet.4:8)

To be fervent is to be “intent” on loving someone through the covering of sins. To be fervent is to be loving and forgiving without ceasing. There is never a limit…there is never too much…there is covering love, always.

We do not cover sin from God, we cover it for Him. His love and forgiveness are being poured out through us on behalf of another. That love pours water, not fuel, on the flame of offense and mends the breach of love. Amen!

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