1 Peter 4:7-11

Read 1 Peter 4:7-11
In first grade I was invited to my first big birthday party! I was counting down the days for this party from the first day I got the invite. The night started out with us all going to the movie theater to see Toy Story. After the movie, we were going to head back to Michael’s house for pizza and games. But midway through the movie I had terrible stomach pains. I was able to finish the movie, but as soon as it was over I ran to the bathroom… I was so sick. On top of not feeling well, I was now crushed when I realized I couldn’t be there for the rest of the party. A few minutes later, Michael’s dad came into the bathroom to check on me. Once he saw me crying, he picked me up to comfort me. He made sure we went out the other exit, so the other boys did see me crying. I remember feeling so thankful I didn’t have to cry in front of my friends. Even though I was sick and sad, I still felt deeply loved and cared. Because in that moment, he wasn’t only comforting me, he was also saving me from shame. The shame of crying in front of your friends as a first grader was real!
 
In 1 Peter 4:8 we are similarly called to this kind of love. ‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.’ Not only to love people well, but also to cover their shame when we can. When I think of covering someone’s shame, I can’t help but think of Noah’s sons: Shem and Japeth. In Genesis 9 we read about how Noah got drunk and passed out naked. One of his sons Ham sees this and decides to tell his other brothers, bringing more shame to Noah. Yet when Noah’s other sons, Shem and Japeth, see him lying naked, they bring honor to their father by covering him up and keeping this to themselves. This is what true love would do. True love in this situation quietly covers up any opportunity of shame and brings honor to that person.
 
So, what does loving and covering a multitude of sins look like for us? Does it mean keeping sin secret from others? Not always. Most sin needs to be exposed and talked about. Some sins need to be reported to the police or authority figures. Yet covering a multitude of sins means that beyond confronting someone with their sin, it means we keep it to ourselves. We keep some sins private because that’s what love does. The opposite of love is going and telling a bunch of people the latest dirt we have on someone. Occasionally, we even pass along another’s sin under the guise of a ‘prayer request.’ Love also doesn’t make jokes about sin at others expense. Love doesn’t lord it over people, like some sort of black mail. Love also doesn’t let pride well up within our heart, because we think ‘would never commit that sin.’ Rather, love covers a multitude of sins by showing grace and giving mercy. Love doesn’t treat sin casually, but it does show mercy, grace, and give second chances. Look to Christ to demonstrate this kind of grace, mercy, and forgiveness today.
 
Questions for reflection:
  1.  Who can you give mercy, grace, and a second chance to today?
  2.  Take time and pray and ask God to reveal to you any hidden faults in your own heart.
Jay Quick | Student Ministries Director

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