Love Covers a Multitude of Sins
1 Corinthians 5:12-13: “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person.”
Many have used this scripture to defend why a member of the church can judge another fellow believer. Generally these words are spoken pridefully and with shrewdness. In this letter Paul wrote to the Corinthian church he addressed those whose character inside the church was as bad as those outside of the church. He defined the behavior to be a brother who was sexually immoral, covetous, an idolater, a reviler, drunkard, or an extortioner.
Rarely these actions are the case when a brother/sister approaches another church family member regarding their behavior, or when they talk about it with another. When this is the case it is usually overlooked and murmured about, because usually the offender is someone in leadership or their own best friend.
Church, we must understand that we are to esteem ourselves lower than others (Philippians 2:3). Truth spoken in love is far better received when the speaker offers up forgiveness for the actions of another. It is a sad day when the body of Christ thinks themselves worthy enough to judge the actions of another when they themselves have acted spitefully against their brother. We are then not even worthy enough to judge the angels in heaven, least the smallest of matters here on earth (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Humility is not a drawn face with eyes focused on the floor speaking soft words of meekness. It is not the tearing of clothes and the wearing of sack-cloths and ashes. No, it’s being able to esteem others higher than yourself. We must be able to discern the difference between what is done in the Spirit and what is done in the flesh.
1 John 4:6: “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
Those who teach and speak by the Spirit of God discern between what the truth of God’s Word is and what is false. Those who desire teaching and doctrine that follows a worldly or legalistic path is not of God. Their faith is found in their flesh, they don’t bear their own cross, nor do they lead others away from their lustful desires. They have no fear of God and by these things (the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life) shall their doctrine and teaching be discerned.
Proverbs 6:16: “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”
Church, we must be mindful of the things of God. False anything will be called down by God. When we have an offense with our brother we are to go to him and make it right (Matthew 5:23-24). We are not to gossip about it trying to justify it among others by saying that ‘we are to judge the church.’ If you’re talking about with others that’s gossip and you’re already in sin so who are you to judge another (Matthew 7:1-3)? As I have taught before, if you are looking for someone to agree with you, you’re already wrong! That’s not love, it’s a worldly view of being judgmental, and the more we allow worldly values into the church the more we become one with the world. We are to be separate with the world, but instead we open the doors and invite it on in.
We must realize that discipline is necessary in the church and generally that is the job of the elder (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5). Without discipline the world could easily slip in unnoticed (as it already has). Some elders (ministers) are too soft and allow the infection to seep into the church. Others are too ridged and severe, and cause other areas of the body to be destroyed in the process. People, no matter how you look at it, no matter how you justify it, offense hurts the body of Christ. What does God do with the backsliders? He calls them gently back in.
Remember Luke 15 and the prodigal son? How many prodigal sons and daughters in the Body of Christ have been chased off because of judgmental glances and critical tongues?
Ephesians 4:1: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Why do so many find it hard to be humble and meek? They instead desire to control others through their words.
These scriptures written by Paul struck me like a knife into my soul. God is longsuffering toward us. We are His children and when we mess up He waits for us to get it straight. He doesn’t give up, like we do to others. L-o-n-g-s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g. He deals with us in love because He so desires to keep the unity of the Spirit with us, in the bond of peace. Can we get a clue from this? Can you handle your brother/sister like this? Can you prevent your brother or sister from falling into sin because they were rejected by you or a fellow church family member?
Church, we need to get our opinions and our agendas out of the way and let Christ back in as head of the Church. It is HIS will that is to be done; not ours!
1 John 4:7-8: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:1: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:11-13: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Peter 1:22: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.”
Proverbs 17:9: “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.”
1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Our Heavenly Father, I know I haven’t tried to love others as you have loved me sometimes. I repent of being prideful and self-righteous and ask your forgiveness. I forgive others for their offense towards me and pray they in turn be released of any they hold on to about me. May I be able to see beyond the fault of my brother or sister and see their heart as you see it. Teach me to walk in your will for my life and to esteem others higher than myself. Search me, oh God, and remove any wicked way within me, and lead me into Your righteousness. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.