Overlooking Dark Corners
I was reminded this past weekend how easy it can be to get in a knot about the mistakes/sins/unexpected dark corners of others. I had shared a story about a mutual acquaintance with someone and was knocked back a bit when they made a rather (for them) derogatory remark about our shared acquaintance. It surprised me to hear this person say such things as, based on my previous interactions with them, this was not usual behaviour. As I mulled things over, my inclination was to make some smart-aleck remark to them in a round-about defence of the third party, but thankfully time and some tongue-biting kept those words at bay.
And isn't that normally our way? To call out the sinner and get them to deal with their sin, to apologize (and maybe even grovel) for the offense they caused us as we tamp down on our own misdeeds and foibles?
Granted, there are times, places, and situations where a person (or people) need to be confronted, where the ugliness needs to be dragged out of the shadows and put in its proper place. But all these things need to be done in love, with mercy and with grace.
That's why I'm so thankful to have had this passage of Scripture brought to mind this morning:
Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].~1 Peter 4:8 (Amplified)
Because I'm a bit of a word nerd, I looked up the definition and some accompanying synonyms for disregard, and found the following: disregard means to pay no attention to; leave out of consideration; ignore; brush off; forgetting; omitting; overlooking. So here is another way to look at what Peter is saying: love pays no attention to, disregards, omits, overlooks, and brushes off a multitude of sins.
It doesn't nit-pick at them. It doesn't volley back a well-worded correction. It blankets it all in grace (getting what we don't deserve) and mercy (not getting what we do deserve). This is how the world will know we are Christians -- by our love one for another as we wisely seek the right time and place to shine the light into our dark corners.
*Photo Credit: Paul Downey © 2010 (Flickr via Creative Commons)