"[Love] bears all things" (1 Cor. 13:7).
Love confronts sin but protects the sinner.
In 1 Corinthians 13:7 Paul mentions four qualities of love that are closely related: bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things. That might sound like love is indiscriminate and accepting of anything that comes along, but "all things" in that verse is qualified by the context. Love rejects jealousy, bragging, arrogance, and so on (vv. 4-6), but it bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things that are within the parameters of God's Word.
"Love bears all things" speaks of love's willingness to cover sins and protect sinners from further harm. That's opposite our tabloid-mentality society in which gossip is big business and people seemingly have an insatiable appetite for exposes and "true confessions."
Love seeks to protect, not expose. It confronts and disciplines sin but never broadcasts failures or wrongs. It feels the pain of those it loves and is willing to take that pain upon itself when necessary—as Christ did when He suffered for our sins.
In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was the place where the blood of atonement was sprinkled to cover the sins of the people (Lev. 16:14). That covering prefigured the perfect covering of sin that Christ brought through His death on the cross (Rom. 3:25-26). All who trust in Him are forever covered with the mantle of God's love.
You cannot cover sins in the redemptive sense, but you can help protect and restore its victims. Proverbs 10:12 says, "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions." First Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins."
When you hear of someone's sin, what is your first reaction? Do you think the worst of him or even gloat over his failures? Or do you expect the best and want to protect him from further exposure, ridicule, or harm? Are you willing to confront sin when necessary and even help bear the burden that person might be carrying? How you react indicates the quality of your love.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for covering your sins with Christ's blood.
- Commit yourself to loving others in a way that truly bears all things.
For Further Study
Read Isaiah 53:3-12.
- How is Christ pictured?
- What did He endure on your behalf?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.