This morning I read in Proverbs 10 the following:
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
God’s love is completely over-coming isn’t it? His love transforms us and bends our wills to joyful following of His good intentions for our lives. The more I feast on God’s love for me, the less I want to sow to my sinful lusts or seek to take from others the love I feel I deserve. The more I dwell on the goodness of our God, the more I’m compelled to show God’s love to those in my life and give generously of my time and concern. We become so full-hearted and whole-hearted in our showing of compassion and genuine concern for each other that we don’t have time to sulk in our self-pity or self-sufficiency. We become so overcome by the love of our God as demonstrated on the cross that we begin being more and more the vessels God uses to overcome others around us with the love of God. We increasingly become vessels and conduits of grace in one another’s lives and the lives of non-believers around us.
What a compelling context, a heart-warming existence! It’s not all roses, and yet it’s far more encouraging the more we embrace this holy love we are caught up in from our Holy God. When this love is simply generalized and made cheap through non-biblical references to love such as Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, believers should have flags raising and quickly curb this unholy view of love as not being tied back to the Holy God we know Who wins in the end. The God of the Bible doesn’t play around with general blanketing of love without reference to our sin and need for forgiveness and grace. This grace-filled love is by definition unmerited, unearned, bold and over-coming. The reason God’s grace is so amazing is because it is being shown to us in the context of being completely undeserved!
When Carrie and I work on our friendship for instance, we don’t just brush over all wrongs done to each other. We seek to grow through both light and refreshing treatment of the wrongs we’ve been dealt – love covers all offenses – while still needing to admit the offenses. If we didn’t admit them and confess them in turn, how could we get them behind us and forgive each other? It’s in the mutual confession of our sins and wrongs committed that we are finding the most beautiful and regular opportunities to forgive and show grace and kindness. I’ve been floored by Carrie’s forgiveness and patience with me, her warmth and encouragement lately in particular is so generous. And, I’ve sought to lead in this, being aware that I am so guilty so many offenses against her and especially against God. His forgiveness and awesome love is revealing to me how gracious He really is.
May we treat one another with the balm of God’s love which covers offenses. May we admit the offenses and yet be more and more ready with the proactive love of God.
When we choose to love first, to love before we feel the other person has “earned it”… We are showing the love that we have received. God has initiated our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Christ died for us to show us love long before we could say how much we love God or show God how much we love Him through loving those He has placed in our lives. Let’s stop earning our gems in Heaven and begin responding to the finished work of Christ on the cross, and thereby work out our salvation in awe of God’s love for us. In this place of trusting and loving fellowship with our God, we’ll be more and more compelled to show the love of God and sow to eternal treasures instead of earthly taking and hoarding, taking love from others instead of investing in eternal sibling relationships, friendships that won’t just last an earthly lifetime but will last for eternity!
For me, this is the Gospel on the ground, God’s love showing up through us to a hurting and dying world around us as God’s children.
In His friendship,