Day 6: Love Covers
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” Proverbs 10:12
Today let’s talk about gossip. We’ve all probably both spread gossip (if you haven’t, good for you) and been a victim of it. You just had to tell someone about the latest
juicy scandalous thing Mary did the other day. Or maybe you wanted to vent to your mother about what your horrible, horrible husband said to you the other day. And can you even believe what cousin Greta did with that boy from the grocery store? (I don’t have a cousin named Greta. I needed a name, and it came up first.)
Do I have to even tell you that all of this is wrong? By now, probably not, but I’m going to dig a little deeper into the above examples anyway so you can get a real-life understanding of how to apply the “love covers all sins” part of Scripture.
Before I do that, I want you to think about covering things. If you cover yourself with a blanket, you’re keeping yourself warm. If you cover a dish, you might be trying to keep it from getting cold, or protecting it from bugs. You cover a skinned knee with bandages to protect the wound from getting infected. Coverings are meant to protect. Remember that as you read on.
Let’s take the first example. You heard that your neighbor Mary was caught with another man last Wednesday when her husband came home from work early. While word is going to spread like wildfire no matter what, you don’t have to play a role in it. Instead of using Mary’s self-made predicament to make you feel better about yourself, realize that gossip is a sin too. Look back at the verse above, and then read this gem from Proverbs:
A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Proverbs 11:13
A talebearer, or gossip, reveals secrets while one who is of a faithful spirit conceals, or covers, them. As someone who has been the victim of gossip (and, unfortunately, done my share of circulating it), I can testify to how awesome and comforting it is to have friends you can trust—people who won’t go running off and telling others what you shared with them in what you thought was confidence.
Instead of causing more harm, we need to stop relaying gossip and pray. While we’re praying, maybe we could even ask the Lord if there’s something we can do to be a blessing to Mary. Even though Mary made her own bed, so to speak, love will see no need to make things worse. It’s usually in those moments when a person has screwed up pretty badly that they most need someone to say “Hey, yeah, you messed up. But there’s still hope.” They need someone to believe in them.
The Bible also says that love doesn’t rejoice in evil (1 Corinthians 13:6), and gossip carries with it a twisted form of joy. It’s like a tasty little treat that the repeater and the hearer enjoy together. Since we’re walking in God’s love now, we need to stop this sort of “rejoicing in evil.” Gossiping isn’t a “no fault” action—remember, you reap what you sow.
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body. Proverbs 18:8
Here’s how the Message Bible puts it:
“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?”
On to the whining wife (I just winced…I’ve done my share of whining). I used to call everyone and anyone who would listen and spout off about how miserable my life was. I wanted attention. I wanted sympathy. I wanted someone to tell me that I was entirely right, and that my husband was entirely wrong. I didn’t care that I was giving everyone I spoke with a negative view of him. I didn’t care that I was widening the chasm in my relationship with him with every phone call. (Nor did I realize that the way I was behaving was far worse than any slight I imagined from him!)
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10
Love covers. It doesn’t run off at the mouth and tell everyone how bad someone else is. Love doesn’t selfishly try to prove it’s right and someone else is wrong. Love speaks life and blessing (see Proverbs 18:21), even when things aren’t so hot, while it waits for God’s Word to do its work.
Repent for gossiping, if you need to. The next time you’re tempted to gossip, don’t! If someone else starts to gossip in your presence, either veer the conversation away from it, or let the other person know—politely—you’re working on not gossiping and would like to talk about something else. It’s okay to be honest!