By Pastor Scott
The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
(Proverbs 10:11-12 NKJV)
From Proverbs chapter 10 onwards we see the style of the book change from larger themes to smaller concise Proverbs consisting of one or two verses on a theme and then switching to another theme quite dramatically. Each chapter contains many wise sayings, but something to notice is that a lot of them deal with the subject of our words we speak.
These verses I have chosen today gives a contrast between the righteous use of words and the wicked use of words. Used rightly, our words are seen as a well of life, were as if they are used in a bad way, it causes destructive results.
James gives us a very strong warning about the way we use our words, and the damage our words can bring if we use them with the wrong heart:
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! (James 3:5 NKJV)
The words from the proverb I want to focus on today is the last comment “But love covers all sins”. This is actually a wonderful saying, but in this context it seems like it is saying that we are to hide the sins of others so nobody knows about it. This could be understood in the wrong way, so I want to give it some clarity.
Firstly, it says “Hatred stirs up strife”. This can be seen as stirring up rumours about people and digging up the sins of the past. Where as to “love” would instead be to cover those things up.
The Hebrew word for “covers” is ‘kawsaw’, which implies clothing something.
As an example, if you see someone naked and in disgrace. You should seek to clothe them, you don’t mock them! (Noah’s son made that mistake).
The contrast we get is the hateful spirit which seeks to dig up and point out the faults of others.
Of course, sin must be confessed and forsaken, but LOVE does not gossip about them or keep the pot boiling.
I like this quote: “On the contrary, love conciliates; removes aggravations; puts the best construction on every thing; and pours water, not oil, upon the flame.” (Clarke)
Bringing this back to us. It is easy to stumble in this area, and keep the pot boiling by gossiping about people’s mistakes or their character flaws or slandering others behind their backs etc. True love doesn’t seek to do that, but would have us try reconcile people to God.
Remember this Good Friday is the day that our saviour covered our sin and forgave us what would have been an unforgiveable debt. With that knowledge let’s think about the way we treat others. Speak “Words of Life”!
"BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS ARE FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS ARE COVERED; BLESSED IS THE MAN TO WHOM THE LORD SHALL NOT IMPUTE SIN." (Romans 4:7-8 NKJV)