Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Orchids to You

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8); "Love covers all wrongs" (Proverbs 10:12b); "He who covers over an offense promotes love..." (Proverbs 17:9)

Oh, let us engrave these verses on our hurting hearts! These are the verses that, with God's help, can renew our commitment to God Himself, as well as to those who need our cherishment. Love, in spite of how we feel about the who or the what or the why...! What a monumental invitation into the very chambers and the character of the Father. It also takes monumental courage, with emphasis on the mental, for it is taking hold of the will to love, even as God loves, in spite of what has happened--and in place of spite.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to love is the records we keep of wrongs. We know that our precious God covers our sins. He asks us to forget the things--the sins, ours and others--that are behind, and go on with His love and mercy. "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them..." (2 Corinthians 5:19). Can we not do for others that which God does for us: write wrongs in ashes? We keep a record of the "sins" which God has already put away from Him, "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). Our heart is blackened with the soot of another's trespasses and now and then we sweep up a bit of it and rub our hands and minds in it, and then ask God for forgiveness for our meanness--again. Instead, let us reconcile and wipe the record clean forever!

William Barclay explains why love hides a multitude of sins, ours and theirs:

1. It may mean that our love can overlook many sins. "Love covers all offences," says the writer of the Proverbs (Prov.10:12). If we love a person, it is easy to forgive. It is not that love is blind, but that it loves a person just as he is. Love makes patience easy. It is much easier to be patient with our own children than with the children of strangers. If we really love our fellowmen, we can accept their faults, and bear with their foolishness, and even endure their unkindness. Love indeed can cover a multitude of sins.

2. It may mean that, if we love others, God will overlook a multitude of sins in us. In life we meet two kinds of people. We meet those who have no faults at which the finger may be pointed; they are moral, orthodox, and supremely respectable; but they are hard and austere and unable to understand why others make mistakes and fall into sin. We also meet those who have all kinds of faults; but they are kind and sympathetic and they seldom or never condemn. It is the second kind of person to whom the heart more readily warms; and in all reverence we may say that it is so with God. He will forgive much to the man who loves his fellowmen.

3. It may mean that God's love covers the multitude of our sins. That is blessedly and profoundly true. It is the wonder of grace that, sinners as we are, God loves us; that is why he sent his Son (Barclay).

I so appreciate this thought: "In tropical forests the orchids thrust out long floating roots into mid-air, from the impure vapours of which they draw their nourishment. They live on trunks of huge decaying trees, which, as decomposition proceeds very rapidly, would, if left alone, fill the air with poisonous gases. But the orchid swings in rich festoons over the rotting boughs: covers the deformity with its own loveliness, absorbs all foul exhalations and turns them into the perfume of its own sweet flowers. Charity is this beautiful orchid, covering human frailty, clearing away harsh, suspicious, and cruel slanders; breathing forth merciful judgments, compassionate sympathy" (James Neil, M.A.)

O Father, may we be Your orchid today!

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