Thursday, 28 March 2013

Love Covers

"Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked."

Genesis 7:23 (New Living Translation)

I once heard someone say about the church (and Christians in general) that "God's army is the only one that buries it's wounded."
Over the years I have often found this to be true. When a Christian has messed up spiritually or morally, his (or her) brothers and sisters often stand as judge, jury and executioner. It sometimes appears that there can be no way back from the moral failure, and that individual can find himself condemned and shunned by the very people who are supposed to protect and encourage him.

The problem with this scenario is that most of the heroes of faith we see in the Bible had their own moral disasters, yet there was a way back for them into favour and blessing. Men like Abraham, David, Jacob and Noah are all mentioned in Hebrews as heroes of faith, yet all of them were far from perfect. Our verse in Genesis refers to Noah, who was the father of Shem and Japheth. He had drunk a bit too much of his own home-brew and had ended up unconscious and naked in his tent. Ham, his other son,  had walked in and seen him in that condition and had wasted no time in reporting his father's failure to his two brothers. However, instead of going to see for themselves, they refused to even look at their father in that condition. They had too much respect for him, and did not want to even think of him in that way. They took a robe and walked in with their eyes averted and covered their father's nakedness. This is such a beautiful story of love and honour in action, and what is more, it is the brother who sought to expose his father's mistake who ends up condemned, while Noah is remembered as a righteous man (Hebrews 11:7).

The Bible tells us that "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). It does not try to expose sin in others, nor does it avoid it. It always seeks the restoration of the one who has fallen and tries to minimise the damage done. 

In John chapter eight, Jesus said to those who wanted to stone a woman who had been caught in adultery, "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone." The only person present who qualified to throw stones was Jesus himself, yet he chose not to. He didn't overlook the sin as some would suggest, but showed grace and compassion to the woman, before telling her to "go and sin no more."

If we really get hold of this concept in our churches and seek to practice it, we will create an environment where people can live in the light, without the fear that people are waiting to jump on their every mistake. We need to understand that churches are filled with people who are declared righteous by God, yet are still a work in progress, just as we are. 

1 comment:

  1. It is only when we have grasped an encounter of just a measure of our Father's heart towards us in how much he loves us unconditionally, unashamedly, without ever a pause from utter love and adoration for us..only then can be truly look through the lenses of our eyes and see the gold and sheer adoration of love from God towards others. Too many people will not even come near to a church door through fear of 'speculation' and a 'character assassination' being done on them..and that's not to mention the poor souls already in some churches under the spell of being assessed and manipulated to change through subtle fear. We are forever ALL work in progress :) A 'work' that God, our Father truly delights in :)