NOTE – The next 12 chapters of Proverbs contain individual wise sayings and proverbs written by Solomon and others. These sayings are usually one or two verses long, appear in a random order,and don’t really relate to the verses preceding and following the proverb. Most of the time they contain two equal statements that build on one another. In Hebrew literature this is called parallelism. In this poetic language two parallel statements are stated together in some way relating and mirroring each other. Sometimes the two statements will restate the same principle in two different ways, but most of the time the proverb will state a positive and negative aspect of the same principle. It will go something like, “The righteous will. . ., but the wicked will. . .” Over the next several weeks in this blog devotion our approach to these chapters in Proverbs will be to choose one verse or parallelism statement in each chapter and share an application. Let me encourage you to make sure you read the entire chapter, though, because God may have another proverb in that chapter that will apply to your life in a special way. The goal of doing a weekly devotion as a part of the blog comes from our desire to point people to the Scriptures because God has spoken and revealed himself in the text of the Bible. This blog is one avenue for us to encourage people to open the Scriptures, read, interact with God, and apply the truths.
I like baggy clothes. Since I am a big guy, I need to get clothes that accentuate my positive features. Tight t-shirts are the worst, because I don’t want anyone seeing my belly. When I order t-shirts, I ask them if they have any that are tent sized. The looser the shirt, the better it covers my, shall we say, overhang. We’ve all seen overweight people whose clothes were too tight. It’s the first thing you noticed, and you know you said it, “Oh my, he should not be wearing that!” A loose fit makes me feel more comfortable, and makes me more confident. It doesn’t change the size of my body, nor does it change the fact that I need to lose weight. But loose shirts do cover my weakness so that hopefully, it isn’t the first thing people notice about me.
A true friend treats weaknesses of others much like a loose shirt. Instead of exposing the other person’s weakness, love covers that weakness up so it won’t be the first thing others notice. This does not mean, that as Christians, we should overlook sin or excuse it. Blatant, unrepentant sin requires loving discipline. But, when we love others, we don’t expose that sin in ways that humiliate for the whole world to know and judge. Our tendency is to point out the weaknesses of others. We think, if we can make others look bad, it will make us look good. People are fantastic at finding ways to poke fun at others, trying to make their failures funny. Jay Leno and David Letterman have made careers of it. You have probably had people do this to you a number of times. They pick on you, tease you, and expose your weakness. And it hurts when people tease you because of your weakness. This is what Solomon means when he says, “Hatred stirs up strife.”
“But love covers all sins.” Make it a goal in your life to cover the sins of your friends, instead of exposing them for everyone to see.