On Valentine’s Day we talk about love, especially love for spouse. The stores tell us to buy a gift – usually an expensive gift – but at least a card for that special person in our life. Over and over, and not just at Valentine’s Day, we are encouraged to speak words of love to our children, our spouse, our friends. “Tell them you love them before it’s too late,” is the command.
The Bible adds another dimension to the discussion about love. “Above all love each other, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
“Love covers a multitude of sins.” What a beautiful thought. St. Paul is speaking of unconditional love. It’s not that love wipes away those sins. It’s that we love anyway. As human beings we are aware of our child’s, our spouse’s failings. Often those failings are aggravating, frustrating. We worry about their consequences. We believe this child has to learn another way. Sometimes those failings cause us or other’s pain. This short bible verse tells us that our love continues to flow in spite of what we do or say or think.
For me, this verse speaks about forgiveness – not forgetfulness, not acceptance – but forgiveness. I remember hearing a story long ago about a conversation between two people – Linda and George. They were discussing their spouses.
George said, “How do you cope with the fact that your husband squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle. My wife does that. It drives me crazy.”
Linda answered, “When we got married I decided that every time I was irritated I would write down the irritation and at some point I would discuss it with Lenny. Once the irritation is on the list, I let go of it. Over the years, I’ve discovered there are many more important things to discuss, than some of the ones on my list. Important things like how we spend our next vacation, which house to buy, the time he lost his job through downsizing, my mother’s illness. That list of irritations never seems important enough to give it air time. Loving, caring for each other always takes precedence.
“Love covers a multitude of sins,” is a very important principle. It carries us through to forgiveness so that bitterness does not spawn and grown.