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How can love cover sin?

BY CAREY KINSOLVING Modified: September 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm •  Published: September 10, 2012

Explain the proverb, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins."

"While I was eating lunch with my friends, one of them told another he was fat," says Connor, age 7. "The word 'fat' upset my friend and me."

Did you say "fat"? That's a fightin' word for many people. Call me ugly; call me crazy, but don't call me fat.

Providentially, Connor remembered: "God teaches us to forgive one another. My friend and I should forgive our friend, even though he was mean and hateful."

Christians should forgive because they've been forgiven in Christ. Can we withhold forgiveness when we have offended a holy God who has forgiven us of much greater offenses?

"Hatred makes people mean," says Patrick, 8. "Mean people look for bad things in others. Love makes people look for good in others."

Whatever is in our hearts functions as radar. Those who harbor hatred are like the guy who had Limburger cheese on his mustache. Everything stinks.

If we hate, we'll find reasons to justify our hatred. Our capacity for self-delusion knows no end.

Love oils relationships. Forgiveness doesn't keep score of offenses. Some people have total recall for the past sins of others but a blank spot for remembering their own sins.

When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, he cried out, "It is finished!" When you forgive, remember Jesus' words on the cross. Let that be the end of it.

Also, remember Lewis, 7: "Hate causes bad things. Love can heal hurt feelings and bring happiness."

Some pain can't be released by willpower. It's too deep. The Bible advocates replacement, says Lance, 7: "When love comes into your heart, it gets the sin out."

The Lord wants us to go further than forgiveness, says Carson, 9: "Everyone should love their enemies. We should also pray for them and encourage them. Sometimes, people are hard to forgive."

This kind of love is radical. Before Jesus taught and demonstrated this kind of love, who ever heard of loving your enemies?

Hatred has a power and energy that galvanizes entire peoples and countries. There are places where hatred has existed for centuries. Jesus said murder begins in the heart.

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