Love Covers All Wrongs
It’s an unfortunate truth. We love drama—it’s consistently some of the highest-rated television on air. I’m no fun to watch TV with because I find myself saying so often, “If they would just be decent, this episode would be like 5 minutes long.”
And it’s usually true. Decency goes a long way. But decency doesn’t cause drama. We want to see what happens when things get stirred up. I’d argue that it’s in our very nature.
No More Drama
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” - Proverbs 10:12
This is a simple, direct proverb to sink our teeth into. The NIV says it this way: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.”
Conflict. Strife. Drama.
We don’t often see it as hatred, because as human beings we love to live in the gray areas, but Scripture doesn’t shy away from giving us black-and-white issues when it needs to. This is an example of that. The issue of love and hate is a binary issue. The absence of love is necessarily hate.
Now, it’s fun to watch conflict and strife on TV and wonder how it will ever get resolved. The problem endemic to our culture and human nature as a whole is that we also love to stir up conflict in our own lives. We always take things the wrong way first. It’s why people can devote their whole lives to studying conflict resolution. Conflict is prevalent.
Where’s the Love?
But love. Love covers all wrongs.
What does that mean? What does it mean that love covers all wrongs?
It would be easy to take it at face value that love simply makes the wrongs disappear, and that’s true on some level, but the statement is so much richer than that. You see, just covering up wrongs leaves room for them to come back. Or to happen again. It leaves room for thoughts like “as long as my love outweighs the wrongs, they’ll stay covered.”
But the teaching here is so much sweeter.
The word here translated as “covers” is often translated this way. English translates often give the definition of concealment or covering, which isn’t wrong. But the literal definition of the word is “to fill up hollows.” When you combine the literal definition and the implied definition, it paints a powerful picture.
One way to think of it is like an ointment to an injury. When you cut yourself, you might fill that cut with some sort of ointment or healing agent, and then you will do what? You will cover it. You want to protect it.
So it’s not that love conceals your sins and offenses, but love creates the best possible environment for healing.
Strife and conflict cause wounds. Love is the healing agent that takes them away. You don’t take a bandage off until your injury is healed. Well, you’re not supposed to anyway. So it is with love. We love the wounds away and keep pouring love out until the wound disappears completely, and then we turn to love as preventative maintenance.
The teaching here is that we love as a pattern of our behavior so that not only are the wrongs covered, but if they ever try and creep up again, the testimony of our lives outweighs any of those conflicts. We don’t leave room for the enemy to attack and drive wedges between our fellowship. Love fills the hollows.