Last week, I had an encounter with an angry acquaintance. They were upset about something that had occurred and was taking it out on anyone in their path. This person snapped at me in a demeaning way more than once during the conversation we were involved in, and had an argument with at least one other person in my presence. I was taken aback and, honestly, afraid to challenge them in any way because of their mood and reactions toward others that day… I truly HATE confrontation and wasn’t about to be the one who stood up against them on the topic of our conversation.
But then I did something I'm not proud of….something that I had to turn and repent for...
I slandered them.
I had gone into the original conversation knowing that there might be some strife, even knowing that I may not be welcomed, but I had set myself to keep an open mind and particularly NOT to spread slander afterward!
Later on, after the conversation, I complained to others about this person's behavior, comments, and general character.
EVEN AS I WAS COMPLAINING… I heard the prompting of the Holy Spirit reminding me that I shouldn’t be complaining! But friends, Satan is a strong power…he can sway us away from God’s will quite easily when we let him…and I continued.
Then the next morning, I sat down for some focused Jesus time…something I had neglected over the past week or so. (By the way, my weakness in falling into temptation and my NOT spending time in God’s Word at the same time is NOT a coincidence… they are directly connected…but more on that in another post.) The VERY FIRST sentence I read was, “Seek to live in My love, which covers a multitude of sins both yours and others’” (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, p 168).
The verse from God's Word referenced in Jesus Calling was 1 Peter 4:8. Paul was writing to a Christian community encouraging them to remain faithful to Christ's teachings and not be discouraged by persecution. Paul says, "Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins" (italics mine). God was speaking to ME…encouraging ME to remain faithful…wanting ME not to be discouraged in persecution…teaching ME to love others, even in their own sin.
Another verse referenced in that morning’s devotion that convicted me was Revelation 2:4-5. “Yet I hold this against you; you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” I for one, DO NOT want my lampstand removed from its place in heaven…and so I repented. I cried out to God to forgive me…I allowed His love to cover my sins.
Wow! God never ceases to amaze me how He speaks to us through His Word...right when we need it. The key is for us to be willing to listen and apply His lessons to our own lives, our own circumstances.
We’ve all been there…whether it be a co-worker, family member, or even a friend…we’ve been tempted to complain about their actions, words, or both. We’ve slandered them in front of others instead of allowing Jesus’ love to flow through us, covering their sins.
If you have one of those times in mind…repent now…and allow Jesus to cover your own sins. Then practice covering others’ in your path with Jesus’ love by praying for them instead of spreading slander and complaints.
Jesus tells us to let our love for others be intense…then we can let Him take care of the rest.