should we cover sin?

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Proverbs 17:9
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Reading these verses, it would seem that we should just ignore and cover up the wrongdoings of others…

Taken by themselves, these verses seem to be in conflict with scripture that tells us we are not to tolerate evil, but instead to expose it…

For example, we see the consequences of covering up sin in the book of first Samuel.  By doing nothing to restrain or punish his sons, Eli sent them to hell. Therefore, had he really loved them, he would have made certain that they not only knew that their behavior was evil but regretted ever behaving that way. By failing to act in accordance with love, he not only lost his sons but also brought God’s condemnation on himself (read 1 Samuel chapters 2 and 3).

Good ole’ James comes to the rescue with the resolution to these seemingly contradictory concepts:

James 5:20
remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

The easy way out for ourselves is to ignore and cover up the wrongdoing of others.  However, if we love someone, we will be willing to do the hard thing and seek to correct them and have them repent, turn from their error, in order to save them.  Once they have repented, it is the Love of God, not us, that can then cover their sin.

If someone has behaved sinfully, we can and should love them and not harbor hatred of them for our own sake (Luke 17:3-4).  However we are NOT obligated to trust them or put them in a position where they can harm us or someone else again.

Instead of hiding or ignoring their sin, we are obligated to do the most loving thing and ensure they are held accountable for the behavior so that they can realize what they did was wrong and come to repentance and a saving relationship with Jesus.

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