Monday, May 19, 2014

"You Can Cover that Multitude of Sin Staring Back at You" by Jennifer O. White @JenniferOWhite

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other,
for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:9

Have you read that verse and thought, “I have no idea what that means. How am I supposed to cover the sin of my _________________ (husband, parents, children, friends, pastor, etc.)?"

When you and I see someone else’s sin, especially another Christian’s sin, our hearts quickly choose a response:  Empathy, disbelief, mercy, judgment, forgiveness, exile, and perhaps the overwhelming desire to fix this situation.

Maybe “fixing” this sin looks like confrontation.  Maybe it starts out as getting the facts straight and slides into collecting every sick detail.  Each one of us has watched it become the teeth-clinching topic of every conversation for weeks on end.

We’ve been influenced by sinful circumstances.  God is very aware how we’ve been taught to react to the failings of others.  With a merciful heart, He sent us Peter to guide our response into something Christ would do.  He says we are to show deep love and cover the sin, the way Jesus did.

Jesus is our mercy seat.  Mercy is compassionate treatment towards an offender, an adversary.  Mercy from God is receiving a pardon for something you could certainly be punished for.

In the Old Testament, the mercy seat was a lid on top of the ark.  It was symbolic of God’s presence.  From this seat, God dispensed mercy to His people when the blood of atonement was sprinkled there. In the New Testament, Jesus became that atonement with the sacrifice of His blood – His life.  Jesus is the covering for our sin.

I love to sing the song, Mercy Seat.  These lyrics are powerful!

I'm running, I'm running, I'm running to the mercy seat
Where Jesus is calling, He said His grace would cover me

His blood will flow freely, It will provide the healing

The beat and the love behind the words are so moving.  I find my heart running toward Jesus when I hear it. I’m running because I know I will be welcome there.  I know I will not be shamed or turned away.

What if we grab the hand of this sin-committing, wounded soul and bring them to His mercy seat?  Our mercy Giver is not repulsed by the sin of a “should have known better” brother or sister in Christ.  He gives mercy.  He gives me mercy.  He gives you mercy.  He gives them mercy.

We cover the multitude of sins we are staring at by interceding, the way Jesus intercedes for us before the throne of God (Romans 8:27, 31). We run with their name to our Mercy Seat where Jesus covers that outrageous sin (and ours) with His blood.  Yes, we struggle to cover it.  We struggle to have a mind full of Jesus’ thoughts.

The war within us to remain horrified at the evil and condemn the person as evil too is very, very real.  It is palpable.  BUT, in our weakness, He is strong.  He is strong in us when we confess our weakness – this desire to judge, to slander, to exile, to cripple with our words.  Then His power comes to rest on our weakness.  Then – THEN - He can use me and you to transport their wounded heart to the place where healing awaits them.

And then, when our hearts have carried this undeserving sinner to the merciful God, the peace of obedience appears.  This peace is a guard for our hearts and minds.  It settles our pounding hearts and makes even more room for the love of Christ to radiate in our relationships.

Scripture References:
1 Peter 4:8
Hebrews 9
Romans 8
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
1 Timothy 2:1-4
Isaiah 32:17
Philippians 4:6-7

Jennifer O. White is the author of the forthcoming book, Prayers for New Brides: Putting on the Armor After the Wedding Dress. She is prayerfully speaking HOPE from the truth of God’s Word at You can download her free ebook – Prayers Spoken, Lives Changed here.

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