Sometimes people who claim to be Christians can be very “helpful.” Have you noticed how many so-called Christians know just how terrible your sin is and make a point of highlighting not only your sin, but also how much God hates you because of that sin. I think that is so helpful because most people caught in their sin have no idea that they are doing wrong and need people who claim to be Christians to point out that sin and how angry God is with them. I find it interesting, though, that those who think they are better than others never protest against the sin of pride. I wonder why it is that we don’t see more people picketing restaurants decrying the sin of gluttony in a country where people tend to be overweight, rather than having to worry about their next meal. In fact, very few people ever seem to find a time to protest against the sin that is in them.
Ironic isn’t it. We have no problem accepting God’s grace, almost as if it were our due. Our sin is so small, so insignificant, that we have no problem understanding why God’s grace is given to us. God is lucky to have us. But when it comes to THEIR sin, well, that’s different. Their sin is different from ours so obviously it is much worse in God’s eyes. That is why we are doing THEM a favor by pointing out their sins and letting them know how much God hates them. THEY are so bad that God not only hates THEIR sin, He hates THEM. Just ask any of the self-proclaimed spokesmen for God. Peter, however, had a different approach. I think he may have learned it from following and observing Jesus. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Love. But surely Peter didn’t understand how bad THEIR sins are, did he? Do you really think he would tell Christians to love each other no matter what? Peter was a good guy. He didn’t do anything wrong. Well, ok, he spoke up a lot and usually ended up putting his foot in his mouth. Oh, and wait. When you think about it…maybe we shouldn’t listen to Peter. Do you know that when given a chance to stand up for Jesus, he disowned Him, three times? Who could forgive that betrayal? If only I could find where Jesus condemned Peter for doing that we would have the example on how to deal with the worst kinds of sins. Except…Jesus didn’t condemn Peter. He forgave him. He loved him. He called Peter’s sin to Peter’s attention more to show Peter how much He loved Peter than to condemn him. Maybe, just maybe, that’s the example followers of Christ should use. Maybe that’s why Peter reminded us that love covers a multitude of sins; he recognized what the love of Jesus had done for him.
I have a sneaking suspicion that most of my friends who are sinners recognize that they sin. They may even recognize the most prevalent sin in their lives. They don’t need me to point it out. Ok, let me tell you how you can know if you are a sinner. Put your hand over your heart. Do you feel it beating? If so, you’re a sinner. There, I’ve called out all my friends who are sinners. That being said, the words of Peter and the actions of Jesus remind us of this truth: we are to love each other. Love does cover a multitude of sins. My wife is married to a sinner. She loves me, though, and she lets God take care of my sins. I have so much to deal with God regarding my sins, that I really don’t have time to tell you all about your sins. I have time to tell you about God’s grace and mercy that covers you and your sins as long as you allow me to.
Lord God, let me love others like Jesus did. Let me show them Your love and mercy that covers their sins. Let Your love flow through me that I may have fellowship with others – their sins covered by Your love.