There are times that you have been loved and never knew it. It wasn’t because of what someone did or said, but rather what they didn’t do or say. Love is not always noticed; in fact, sometimes it is silent.
The Bible says that love “beareth all things” (I Corinthians 13:7). The word “beareth” means to put a roof or a covering over a dwelling place. It carries the idea of bearing an injustice and suffering because you refuse to repeat the wrongs of another. Thus, you cover their transgression through your silence of not exposing what you know.
Love is strong. It is quiet when it could hurt others. It is willing to suffer and carry the burden of being misunderstood. There are times you are privy to information that if others had they would come to the same conclusion you have. However, you do not reveal the information because it would hurt someone. It’s hard to be quiet during those times, but you do so because of love.
Our words have the power to destroy the lives of people. The Bible compares our words to fire, that though small, can cause great destruction (James 3:5). Even a single word or a brief conversation, like a spark, can have far-reaching consequences.
Someone wrote, “Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell”. Once the bad news is passed on, it is usually impossible to recall.
Simply put, when we love someone we don’t talk about them negatively to other people. Period. No exceptions. Love motivates us to cover and hide their wrongs from others, not to expose them. Satan does the opposite. He never covers sin, he exposes it for others to see. He delights in seeing people destroyed.
He is called “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10). His very names show his activities. The word “devil” means “to slander”. The word “Satan” means “to accuse”. He slanders through his accusations.
Truth alone is not the sole test for what you say to people. It is the first filter, but not the only one. When the enemy of our soul accuses us before God, most of what he says about us is true. He slanders us to our Heavenly Father about our sins. We do the work of the enemy when we slander and spread bad truth. Love is motivated to be quiet.
God does the exact opposite of Satan. He permanently covers the sins of those who have put their faith in Christ with His blood freely sacrificed for us on the cross. Love wants to cover and forgive, not condemn and expose. Satan hates us; God loves us. The difference is seen in how they deal with our wrongs.
The first quality of love – that it “suffereth long” (I Corinthians 13:4) – is related to the truth that it “beareth all things” (I Corinthians 13:7). Both involve the withholding of a desire to strike back in revenge, but rather responding in patience and not exposing the wrongs of others.
The Bible says that “love covereth all sins”. (Proverbs 10:12) The reason people expose wrong, gossip and share bad news (even if it is true) is because they do not love the person. Love will not only cover an occasional wrong, but will even “cover the multitude of sins”. (I Peter 4:8) Only a heart that is motivated by love will do this.
To be utterly honest, I know few people like this. Bad news always travels faster than good news – and it is told with more enthusiasm and for a longer period of time. Why? Our wicked hearts are interested in the perverse parts of a story.
I heard a preacher commenting on the reason pastors that had been forced to resign (because of immorality or unethical behavior) disappeared from off the social radar screen. Almost all of them are never to be heard from again, even from their closest and dearest friends. The preacher said, “I believe it is because they know that others are now talking about them in the way they used to when they heard bad news about someone else”.
I agree with Elanor Roosevelt, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. What does your family talk about mostly – ideas, events or people? It’s an indicator of the presence or lack of love in your home.
Love doesn’t repeat scandals and information that hurts people, but it covers it by not repeating it. One day it may be your marriage, your children, your sin or mistake that is in the courtroom of opinion being batted around in the name of “Christian concern”. Just because something is true doesn’t mean we ought to talk about it.
It bothers me when people write “tell all” books after they have left a political administration, a business, or an athletic team. While a fat paycheck may await them after their books sell (and they usually do sell very well as we love gossip), they are bereft of any decency, love or compassion. The authors often tout their commitment to being honest in putting the “real” story out front. Contrary, I think it is dishonest, disloyal, and wrong. It certainly isn’t loving or kind.
Love “beareth all things”. It doesn’t repeat scandals nor does it want to hear them. Many families are divided over words that never should have been said or repeated. They become polarizing statements burned in hearts, sometimes for a lifetime. Maybe that’s why your children don’t like to spend time with you. You think you have been honest and straightforward; they perceive you as being disloyal and brutal.
I don’t want my wife or children trumpeting my failures as a husband or father to other people (and they could). They deserve the same courtesy from me. There are things that my children have said or done that I will never tell anyone. There are times Paula and I have disagreed over issues that I will never share. In fact, I’ll go to the grave with them.
It isn’t that they will sully our reputation as a family. It’s just that I love them and will stand by them, in spite of what they have done. Loving spouses don’t criticize each other publicly. Loving parents don’t pass on damaging information about their children to people that do not have a need to know. Loving children are able to extend grace to their parents even when their parents have been wrong sometimes.
I treasure my parents. They were terrific to me and my brother and sister. That doesn’t mean they were perfect or that we always agreed and everything was always happy in our home. But they did the best they could with what they knew to do. What more could they have done?
I know I speak for myself and I believe I do for Melanie and Hoss, too. We have not nor will we parade anything negative about our parents or each other to anyone. It isn’t because we made a pact; we’ve never discussed it before.
Perhaps you are accustomed to sharing the faults of your family to other people. May I plead with you for the sake of the unity in your home and for the future of your children that you would break the chain. Bring difficult issues solely to the individual with whom you have a problem and ultimately to the cross.
It’s just the way love behaves for love “beareth all things”. (I Corinthians 13:7)