Peter: Love covers a multitude of sins

For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer. Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.
(1Pe 4:7-10 NET.)

You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
(1Pe 1:22 NET.)

How does love cover sins?  We often think of sin as violating a universal law and offending God.  While there is definitely component to sin which damages our relationship with God it also damages our relationships with each other.  I would argue that love can mitigate that impact in our relationships with each other and God.

I believe the power of sin is that it results in shame and eventually a hostility towards God and others.  When we do something we know is wrong (sin) we can take it one of two ways.  We can feel guilt (I did something wrong) or shame (I am something wrong).  When we take it as shame, and most of us do, then we feel unworthy of connection and belonging, especially unworthy to connect with God.  God is perfect and all powerful and something about being our grungy selves in his presence really kind of freaks us out.  Taken to some depths this pattern results in bitterness towards God and others and eventually hostility.

Love can unravel all this.  If I screw up royally and the person I sinned against still treats me like I matter it will defuse the ticking shame bomb.  It takes that sin and covers over it and mitigates its impact.  It mitigates its impact  on my relationship with God as well.  It is amazing how much the church represents God in the minds of people.  I’ve walked through a number of people who have been burned by bad church experiences and for many, especially those who grew up in the church, it wrecks their relationship with God.  If we forgive each other we will know and understand the forgiveness of God.  If we condemn each other we are much more likely to feel condemned by God.

God’s love is consistent and his desire for relationship is consistent.  There is nothing we can do that makes us so worthless to God that he would want to cast us away.  What fluctuates is our perception of God.  If we love each other we cover over the sin that changes the way we relate to God mitigating the relational impact.

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