[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3)Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up disputes but love covers all offenses
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up disputes but love covers all offences
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins
Reading these scriptures one cannot help but think of images and scenes that have dominated our headlines recently. Images of hatred as racial tension and violence have erupted at different parts of our country.
Forced to confront realities
We all know what has been happening in South Africa the past few weeks. What opened the can of worms coming into 2016 was a tweet by Penny Sparrow where she called Black people monkeys. The racism that is plaguing the nation is a situation that has slowly been brewing since last year when the Rhodes Must Fall movement birthed similar campaigns around South Africa. Because of our political past that is soaked in racism we are forced to confront realities that we have pretended don’t exist for the longest of time. We are forced to admit that the “Rainbow Nation” of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela is no longer as united.
These verses warn us of what hatred can do. As a nation we are slowly moving towards letting hatred engulf our country. The above verses give us two scenarios: one is of hatred and what it can do, the other is about love. The writer tells us that love covers. It does not shy away from admitting that there will be sins and offences committed but it speaks of the choice of love. Love in the midst of the hatred chooses to cover a multitude of sins. Notice that it is not just one sin or two but multitudes. It does not speak of a few offences but covering all offences.
When you love someone or something you always want to protect the object of your love. Indeed there is nothing of value in your home that is not given some kind of covering. If we take a look at the meaning of covering we realise that it is a love word. There has been a lot of hatred stirred the last few weeks in our universities and as different races we might be tempted to hate as well. I believe that the time for the Church to act is now. It is time for us to be salt and light. It is only through the love that we receive from Jesus that one race can love another race. He has certainly modelled a way for us to be in these circumstances. When He was ridiculed, beaten and falsely accused our Lord still loved. He covered his enemies in prayer to the Father and prayed “Father forgive them.”
The example of Christ
Christ loved even to the very end when He was persecuted. He gave us an example. Let us cover up this country in prayer. Love covers a multitude of sins. Hatred looks for ways to cause trouble and division and strife but love pursues peace and extends a hand of forgiveness. One of the most visible images of brotherhood and sisterhood from these university riots has been Christians who have chosen to stand together in the midst of all the hatred to pray. In the midst of all the chaos and the violence kingdom-minded students stood together and prayed for their nation. They chose to cover up this beloved nation in prayer.
SA at a crossroads
South Africa is at a crossroads. We are at a point in our history where if we do not aggressively pursue peace we might find ourselves in a worse state than apartheid South Africa. We have a potential war brewing in front of our eyes and there will continue to be agents that stir up hatred but the ones who are called by His name should choose the way of love. There will be people who will continue to bring shame to our nation and taint our efforts to truly bring about peace but even in that our Lord teaches us not to hold up a sword the way Peter wanted but to choose the way of love.
As a mother of three young children I have my own stories of little hands indulging themselves with crayons on our couches and chairs. They chose to explore their artistic side and draw on our walls. What do I do as a mother when confronted with such realities? Do I hate my children because they have “tainted” our home? Do I throw them out of my house because they are not perfect? No, this mother continues to love her children and to turn her house into a home. Love draws me to look at the couch with a stain on and wash the stain off if I can. I reprimand, yes, but I do not make the incident be the defining moment in our relationship. I buy a throw-over and cover my couches if needs be. There will be multitudes of sins in their growing up stages and I will love them through all of them and continue to reprimand, discipline and cover them.
What is happening to our country is no different. We cannot be naïve to think that as we “grow” our young nation we will not have moments where little hands want to taint and “draw” on our walls. If you are a parent you will know the sleepless nights of raising a child. It is not all cute. There are times when you get yourself dirty. Only an involved parent will know about changing a diaper, nursing a child through the night. Raising a young one is not all beautiful roses.
In our marriages we are meant to cover one another. Some spouses treat their possessions better than their beloved. You will find a husband going to great lengths to take care of his car but mistreating his wife; or a wife obsessing about maintaining her furniture, her carpet, her kitchen but talk anyhow to her husband. Let us be careful not to live our lives in our homes with “curtains open”. When you move to a house and indeed if you were to go to any house one of the things that you immediately see are the windows. One of the very first things that one buys when moving to a new place is curtains to cover the windows. Love covers…
Who will cover this nation in prayer?
In South Africa we are living with our “curtains open”. We are in a vulnerable condition where everyone can see our dirty laundry. Who will stand up and cover this nation in prayer? Will we be part of the group that stirs dispute or will we be the ones who see the staining, confront it in love, pray and implement solutions that will bring about the change that we all want. When there is an open wound you put bandage on it, you do not leave it open. You cover the wound. Our nation is bleeding and it is going to take us to put bandage on it to care for it. If we leave it the way it is we must not be surprised when the situation we find ourselves in gets worse.
Hatred stirs up disputes but love covers all offenses. Above all, let our love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.