‘Love Covers Over All Wrongs’

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Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. — Proverbs 10:12 

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.  

In the biblical story of Noah, Scripture tells us that after the flood, Noah planted a vineyard and then became drunk from the wine he created. In his drunken state, Noah laid naked, uncovered in his tent in an undignified and embarrassing manner. 

When Noah’s son Ham discovered his father lying exposed, he brought about further humiliation by telling his brothers about it. However, Ham’s brothers acted differently: “But Shem and Japheth… walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked” (Genesis 9:23). Shem and Japheth covered their father, preserving his honour and dignity. 

‘Love Covers Over All Wrongs’ 

I think there is no better story that illustrates this teaching from Proverbs: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Ham had no love for his father and chose to stir up controversy around Noah’s mistakes. However, Sham and Japheth acted out of love and literally covered their father’s wrongs. 

Similarly, in our own lives, there are times that we hear about or witness a person making a mistake in a moment of weakness. Do we spread gossip and tell the world about it? Or can we cover that person’s humiliation by keeping quiet? Now, of course, if someone else’s safety or morality is an issue, we must report what we’ve seen. I’m referring to seeing a friend make a bad mistake or watching a family member “lose it.” Do we make things worse by exposing them? Or can we turn to our loved ones and say, “Hey, we all make embarrassing mistakes. I won’t let anyone know about it.”  

This is especially true for our young children. Just because children are young, doesn’t mean we can expose every less-than-intelligent thing they have done, even if it is funny. They, too, are deserving of respect. 

Moreover, we need to cover over mistakes others make even if our feelings are hurt (when appropriate). Someone may have slighted us, said something hurtful, or made a mistake by forgetting to invite us to an event. Can you let it go and bury it?  

When we protect others from humiliation and look away from embarrassing mistakes, we preserve dignity and foster unity amongst God’s children.  

Your turn: Designate several hours each day during which you resolve to spread no gossip and speak kind words only. Gradually increase these hours until there is no room in your life left for gossip. 

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