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The Grand Cover Up

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BIG IDEA

Hatred brings conflict. Love brings a covering.

INTRODUCTION

“I hate that…”

Growing up, my family had their own list of swear words. I don’t mean words that we said, but rather words that we were expected not to say. When these words were spoken, there was always the threat, though honestly rarely the delivery, of a tongue lathered in bath soap. And so my sister and I sought to avoid these words. I won’t go over all of them today, but there is one that I will share, and although it was a swear word in our house, it is a word, that when used appropriately is an appropriate word for Christians to use. That word is “hate.”

To “hate” something, is “to have a passionate dislike for something.” Now, to be clear, I believe that while it is sometimes appropriate to direct hate toward something, it is never appropriate to address hate toward someone. Let me illustrate. I hate dentistry, but I don’t hate dentists. I hate having a Dyson Vacuum strength tube inserted into my mouth, sucking every bit of moisture away. I hate six inch needles inserted into my tender gums. I hate the taste of novacaine. I hate the smell of teeth being drilled. I hate extractions. But I do not hate the people who are dentists, just the cruel art and dark art of dentistry. 

My concern today is not that you hate dentists, snakes, long lines, Youtube commercials, or group-chat messages. My concern today is that you are harboring hate in your heart toward another human being.

1 John 2:9-11

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 

10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 

11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

These are sobering words! If you hate, you are walking in darkness. You don’t know where you are going. You have been blinded. Perhaps you are thinking, “Good. I don’t hate any brother or sister, so I am good. My hate is directed towards someone who is not part of my biological family or church family. Isn’t that ok?

Matthew 5:43-48

43  “You have heard it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 

44  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

45  so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

46  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

47  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

48  You therefore must be perfect (complete; whole; mature), as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus is saying, if you are going to be complete, if you are going to be mature, if you are going to be godly, you must be free from a passionate dislike of everyone, including your enemies, and must express to them a God-like love.

So today, we are going to look at one small verse in Proverbs 10 and hear the wise words of Solomon.

Hate brings conflict. Love brings a covering.

EXPLANATION

The Grand Cover-up. Is your mission in life to reveal the sins of others or conceal the sins of others?

“Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.” Henry Emerson Fosdick

We read these words in Proverbs 10:12

12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

  1. Hatred brings conflict
    • “Hatred stirs up strife…” In the Bible, strife means, “vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism.” It is a war that begins in your heart and then is waged against another. It is the opposite of peace. It is the antonym of harmony. It is the enemy of unity.
    • Notice please the order of the phrase. It does not say, “Strife brings hatred.” It says, “hatred stirs up strife.” The Hebrew word for “strife” here means, “to awaken.” Hatred awakens strife.
    • So what happens? Someone wrongs us. It hurts. We don’t like it. We begin to hate. Hatred then breeds strife. We go to war. Someone wrongs us, and we decide to reveal their sins to them, and to the rest of the world, by waging war.
    • Hatred, a condition that begins in the human heart, awakens open warfare against another. Now listen, this strife is rarely a war with our fists, but often a war with our lips. Remember what I said a few weeks ago, “When you open your mouth, you reveal what is in your heart.” The tongue is a weapon which wages war against those we hate in our heart.
      1. Lips that deceive
        • Proverbs 10:18 says, “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips.”
        • Hatred begins with a lie that we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves we are better than the person who hurt us. We tell ourselves we are more righteous, mature, and honorable than the one who hurts us. 
        • Having believed the lie we tell ourselves, we begin to tell lies about the other. We shade the truth. We slant the story. We sully their reputation. We tell everyone who will listen, horrible things about the person we hate.
        • Like a sword to tender flesh, we thrash and cut the other person with hate-filled lies. If you have hatred in your heart, you will spread lies about the other.
      2. Lips that destroy
        • Proverbs 10:18 continues, “and whoever utters slander is a fool.” “Slander,” is “whispering an evil report.” It is a fool who whispers an evil report about another person. 
        • We tell evil reports about another because we have evil hatred in our heart. Here’s a good rule of thumb: never whisper to another what you wouldn’t boldly say out loud to the one you are whispering about.
        • “Whoever utters slander is a fool.” The Bible is saying that when you use your words to make someone else look bad, you end up being the one who looks bad. You want to reveal their sins but you only end up revealing your own hatred. It’s foolish!
        • When you have hatred in your heart, you seek to destroy the other by whispering an evil report.
      3. Lips that defile
        • Verse 19 continues, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking…” When you talk too much, sin is there, defilement is there.
        • Can you imagine what your life would be like if you spent less time talking about another and more time praying for the other? Strife would melt away. Hatred would become love.
        • Every time you open your mouth to bring a bad report about someone else, you are defaming, you are destroying a person loved by God and made in the image of God. Before you defile them, remember God has declared His love for them.
        • Verse 19 concludes, “whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” The wise person controls their words.
    • Hatred brings conflict. Right now, I want you to search your heart. Consider that one person with whom you have conflict. How does it make you feel?
    • Hatred corrupts. Hatred consumes. There is a better way. It is the way of love. Love lets go… 
  2. Love brings a covering.
    • “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
    • This phrase “covers all” means to “throw clothes upon nakedness.” Think of this phrase. Someone bares themselves, embarrasses themselves, exposes themselves by doing something horrible. The natural response is to tell everyone about it. Hatred reveals.
    • But instead of hating, love throws a cover over it. Love clothes the other person’s nakedness.. Love brings dignity, not more dirt.
    • The picture here is one of forgiveness, not of fighting back. Instead of fighting back, love forgives. It covers up. It brings dignity to a dreadful act.
    • Love does not excuse the behavior of another. Love does not condone the poor actions of another. But love covers up the other through love with a blanket of forgiveness. 
      1. Notice the quality of the covering. It is a covering of love.
      2. Notice the quantity of the covering. It covers ALL offenses. Not a few. Not just some. Love covers all offenses.
    • Love envelopes what has been exposed in another with the covering of love. Love stretches beyond the realm of the comprehensible to the incomprehensible. Love struggles to go beyond the barrier of the impossible to make forgiveness possible.
    • Love strains to go beyond the boundary of human emotion to express divine compassion. Love embraces the unlovable. Love enfolds the unlovely.
    • Love kindly accepts those who have not been kind to you. Love adopts those that have rejected you.  Love explodes past reason and rationality and breathes redemption. Love sacrifices itself upon the altar when others have been sinful and selfish.
    • Love costs. Love pays the price. Love is hospitable to the inhospitable, non-judgmental of the judgmental, gracious to the ungracious, accepting of the unacceptable, forgiving of the unforgivable.
    • That’s how God loves, because God is love, and that’s the love that He has loved us with, and commissioned us to love with.
    • Love covers a multitude of sins. It throws a blanket over the embarrassing behavior of another.
    • The Apostle Peter quoted our passage from Proverbs in 1 Peter 4:8. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
      1. Peter says, “Above all…there’s nothing more important than this: keep loving one another fervently, earnestly, passionately.” The word “earnestly” means, “to stretch, strain.” Whatever you do, keep stretching and straining to show love, because love covers a multitude of sins.
      2. Remember, this is the same Peter that in his younger days asked Jesus, in Matthew 18, “How many times should I forgive someone? Seven?” And Jesus said, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” This answer is not taken to mean literally, once you reach 490 times, you stop forgiving. 
      3. Seven, in the Bible, is considered the number of perfection. So Peter, trying to show off, says, “I should forgive a person for their sins in a perfect way.” But Jesus is saying, “My command is whatever you think is enough forgiveness is not enough. You need to go way beyond that.”
      4. Right after that, in the Book of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable of a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And a man was brought to him who had a nearly infinite debt. He owed 10,000 talents. Listen, a talent was equivalent to the wages a servant would receive for 20 years of work. This man owed 10,000 times 20 years of work. In today’s language, it would be $161 million.
      5. Do the math with me. If it took 20 years to earn one talent, it would take 200,000 years to pay off the debt. But the king says, “Forgiven. The debt has been paid.”
      6. The servant who had been forgiven an unpayable debt went out from the king and found one that owed him a debt, 100 denari, or about $11,733, and threw the man in debtors jail because he would not pay his debt.
      7. When the king heard of this, he called the forgiven man to himself and said, “You wicked servant. I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? And in his anger, his master delivered him to jailers, until he should pay all his debt.”
      8. Now listen, “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
    • Here’s the message. Christ the King has forgiven you $161 million worth of sin debt, what right do you have to hold $11,733 worth of debt against another. Love covers a multitude of sins.
    • Love is forbearing. It is patient and kind.
    • Love is forgiving. It releases your right to punish another for the wrongs they have done against you.
    • Love is forgetting. It keeps no record of wrongs.
  3. The Grand Cover-up
    • It is fitting and appropriate that we discuss this text today as we prepare to Celebrate at the Lord’s Table. For Christ is the author of the Grand Cover-up. Listen, He did not cover up His own acts; His act of love on the cross made it possible for our sins to be covered up.
    • Upon Calvary’s cross he bore in his body the sins of the whole world. Suffering shame and rejection He took upon Himself your sin and shame. His shed blood became the covering for your sins.
    • He clothed your embarrassing nakedness before God with His crimson blood. He covered over your unrighteousness with His righteousness. 
    • That is what we celebrate at this Table. His broken body, His shed blood paid your $161 million sin debt, a debt you could never repay. From His nail-pierced hands in feet, from His marred back, from His bloody brow flow forgiveness. Love covers a multitude of sins. Because God loved you, He gave His One and Only Son, so that you might be forgiven and receive eternal life.
    • How then do you dare hold $11,333 debt against your brother or sister? How dare you! To whom much has been given, much will be required. His love covered up your debt of sin, so let your love cover up the debt of sin in others. “Hatred stirs up strife but love covers a multitude of sins.”

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” Will Smith

APPLICATION

Let me give a few applications  before we wrap up our study today. 

  • Confess your sin of hatred towards another.
  • Commit yourself to the way of love and not hate.
  • Cover-up the sins of another, as Christ has covered your sins.
  • Come to the table clean and celebrate the blood of the Lamb which covers our sins.

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