Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Love Bears All Things

By Clifton Angel

    Sister Jane walks in the door Sunday morning, shakes my hand, and exclaims, “I don’t like your tie today; it’s not the right color!” I politely shake her hand and respond, “It is good to see you today, sister Jane.” Brother John and I spend a day golfing. John gets so frustrated during the game that he curses. He immediately turns to me, “Brother, I’m so sorry. I never use that kind of language. I’ve just had so much on me lately. I’ve been playing horribly today, and it just slipped out.” I reply, “I forgive you, John.” And I never mention John’s sin to another human being — ever. Why? Because love “beareth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
    The word translated “bear” in this passage literally means to cover or conceal. In the example of sister Jane, I bear— or, forbear—with her by concealing words that would only create further harm and strife. This is an occasion where we heed Solomon’s words: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him” (Proverbs 26:4). In the example of brother John, I bear with him by concealing a matter that is only known to him, me, and God. Furthermore, that matter was confessed, and John was forgiven. Would it have been satisfactory for me to call another brother directly leaving the golf course and say, “Let me tell you what brother John did today—he cursed!” Or what about 20 years down the road? Brother John and I are enjoying conversation with other Christian men about golfing, and I say, “Hey John, do you remember that time you got so upset you cursed on the golf course?” Would that be acceptable? It would not. “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends” (Proverbs 17:9).
    Love bears all things. Let us take note that this does not mean to turn a blind eye to sin. For, Lord willing, we will notice next week how that love “rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” Love bears all things. Come grow with us in love!

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/

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