A pastor was approached by one of his members who wanted to repeat to him some of the wrongdoings of another in the church. The pastor said, “Does anybody else know about this?” “No,” answered the talebearer. “Then,” advised the wise preacher, “go home and hide it away at the feet of Jesus, and never speak of it again unless God leads you to speak to the person himself.”
What good advice! The talebearer acts out of hate and is in heart a murderer: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15). The Christian who covers sin is motivated by love. He cannot bring himself to repeat the wrongs of others in the family of God.
Peter reminded his readers of the importance of Solomon’s instruction: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). How grateful this servant of God must have been for God’s forgiveness and the love demonstrated by his brethren. After his three denials of Christ, he was forgiven and made the spokesman for the early church.
Shall we act today in hate or love? Will our conversations stir up strife or cover sins? Will the church be divided or helped because we have lived another day?
Does love then simply ignore wrongs in a brother or sister? Not at all. We have two obligations. The first is that of prayer for the one who has sinned. The second is to go to the one in need and make an effort to restore: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).