The other day I was reading in my Bible from the book of Proverbs. According to my dictionary a proverb is, "A short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some common truth or useful thought." We probably all know a few of these kind of sayings and hardly give them a second thought. Things like, "A stitch in time saves nine," "Measure twice cut once," and "It's not over 'til it's over."
So I was reading Proverbs 10:12 and saw this:
"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."
That seems pretty straight-forward and easy to understand. When we have anger or hard feelings towards someone there can be all kinds of trouble, but if we love them then trouble can be avoided. It is the kind of saying that just makes sense. It could very easily be a saying found inside a fortune cookie. But I didn't find this proverb in a fortune cookie. I found it in my Bible, a setting that virtually demands I take a closer look at it. And as I did so I found that it holds more, much more, than first meets the eye.
Where do we first see hatred in the Bible? We see it in Genesis 3, as the serpent says to Eve, "Did God actually say…?" Now that question may not look like hatred, but it is driven by Satan's hatred of God and it underlies every attempt on his part to lead people in ways that are disobedient to God.
And the other half of the proverb, "but love covers all offenses," ultimately, where does that point us? That points us towards our Savior and Lord, Jesus. He is the one whose love is perfect. He is the one who offers his love freely to all who would have faith in him and the work he finished on the cross. That, and that alone, is the only love that can truly cover all offenses.
Easter is on the horizon, a day when, perhaps, we remember just a bit more clearly the powerful work that Jesus did in going to the cross. It was an act of love of the most precious type, for it is an act of love that when applied to those who believe in Jesus has the effect of covering all of their offenses before God.
This Easter may it be your joy to give praise to Jesus as your Savior and Lord, the one whose love truly does cover all your offenses, and in doing so, restores you with God.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.