Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Love Covers

Gracious Father, I come before your throne of grace, first to say thank you.  I thank you, Father for answering prayers.  I thank you Father for allowing your children to make their requests known, and allowing them to be a part of thy holy will.  I thank you for being a God who day by day expresses the love you have for those who love you.  I thank you this morning for the peace of mind that surpasses all understanding.  I pray Father that I am not alone in these blessings.  I pray the same for family and friends, near and far.  I pray the same for the readers and doers of your word, but specifically for the readers of this message.  I pray that they will receive it in love, and exact change if need be.  I pray that it penetrate their inner parts, and permeate from them where ever they go, so that it is evident that your Holy Spirit is encamped around them.  Oh God, just have your way with us this morning.  I pray Father, each day that any sins committed, whether by thought, speech, or deed, that you forgive us for it.  I give you all the honor, glory, and praise.  These I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I do not think people understand the power of love.  Love can cause people to do things they would not normally do.  There is the saying that love is blind.  This pertains to couples who are in a loving relationship where one person may be doing something to the other that is hurtful, but because of the love that the person has, who is the victim, he or she does not see the effect of that hurtful thing.  Love has many other attributes.  The bible says “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1Cor 13:4-7)  Wow!  Love still has other attributes, but what I want to share with you today, is how love can cover.
My wife and I have been together for 21 years.  We had many challenges in our relationship.  Some of them were my fault, very few was on her.  However, her family was not receptive of me.  In their defense, on some issues I could understand why they were not receptive, but as time went on, those reserves should have subsided.  They did not.  And over the course of 16 years, I had to bear many forms of disrespect.  Many people that I know would not have endured it for so long.  But I did, because as stated above, love endures all things.  Other people I know would not had stayed in the relationship because they do not think it would be worth it.  I stayed, because in my eyes my wife is worth it.  The love that I have for her covered all of the mess I endured from her family.  Love covers.
God loved us so much that He wanted us, His beloved creation, to be in relationship with Him for all eternity.  However there was a problem.  The problem was sin.  The bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and we are sinful by nature (Eph 2:3).  However, God wanted something to not wipe away the sin, but cover it (2 Cor 5:21), and this was done out of love (Jn 3:16).  This is not a blank check for people to engage willfully in sin, but to use this as an opportunity, knowing that God afforded us more time to set our lives right.  The sin is still present, it is only covered.  This covering allows us to sincerely repent to God with a sincere heart, and God will forgive us. 
This is the type of love we are to have for one another.  We are to imitate God (Eph 5:1), and one way is how we are to love.  The bible states “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." (1Pe 4:7-8)  Fervent is defined as having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, etc.  The Apostle Peter states this is the type of love we should have for one another.  I hear of families not speaking with one another for years.  You hear of husband and wives separating after many years of marriage.  There are instances where fathers hate their sons, and mothers are jealous of their daughters.  You hear stories of husbands and wives plotting to have the other killed.  I witnessed for myself, where a sister in Christ, wanted to see her brother in Christ fall, and expressed joy when it appeared he has fallen. Where is love in all of this?  I thought love suffers long.  I thought love does not envy.  I thought love thinks no evil.  I thought love does not rejoice in iniquity.
Family, I did not know it back then, but I know it now.  God has been working on me for years.  In all of the things that I have done, there were things I just could not do.  I could not do them, because I had compassion, I had honor, I had loyalty, and I have them even more now.  What I endured in the earlier part of my relationship was done out of love.  I did not hold my wife accountable to what her family did.  I did not allow their actions to dictate how I felt about her.  The love that I have for my wife, caused me to cover all of that which was perpetrated by them.  It is this kind of love that I am saying that we all should have.  If there are any grudges being harbored, ask yourself, where is the love in that?  If you love God and is happy to be a child of God, be mindful of this; “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses against us.”  Finally consider what God has done for you when you know you did not deserve it, and how would He feel if you do not pay it forward?  Amen!

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