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Grace for Today
Devotional: August 1st
A simple but forcible contrast
Read Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 5:2
‘Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.’ Hatred is the selfish principle of an unregenerate man. It may be varnished by religion and smoothed by hypocrisy, but it is a subterranean storm, continually stirring up mischief and evil. Hatred creates or keeps alive carnal strifes. It causes coldness. It creates disharmony. It stirs up ‘envyings and evil surmisings’. Hatred carps at the least infirmity in others and aggravates the least fault. Hatred resents the most trifling offense. It is provoked by the least imaginary wrong. ‘An ungodly man diggeth up evil.’ Such strifes are kindled to the great dishonor of God. They mar the beauty of the gospel. Let us resist this evil of the old man by watchfulness and prayer ‘and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God’.
Love is the fruit of the Spirit. It covers a multitude of evils. Let us study 1 Corinthians 13 in all its detail, and make it the pattern for our lives. Let this be the mirror of our hearts and the standard of our profession. Love covers, overlooks, speedily forgives and forgets. Love invents reasons to avoid strife. Love puts the best possible construction on doubtful matters. Love seeks unity and agreement. Love does not rigidly examine a brother’s failures. It will not deliberately expose a brother’s faults. It refuses to uncover the sins of another.
To refrain from gross slander, while leaving room for needless and unkind doubt, is not covering sin. Nor is the ‘seven-times forgiveness’ the true standard of love. Love, like its divine Author, covers all sins. Who among us does not need the full extent of this covering? What is our brother’s evil against us, compared with our sin against God? Can we hesitate to blot out our brother’s few dollars, who look for a covering for our debt of ten million dollars to God? Let us imitate Christ’s spirit of forbearing, forgiving, self-sacrificing love: ‘Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.’ ‘And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.’
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18
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