Prov. 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.
17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
1 Pet. 4:8 Above all, have fervent love among yourselves, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Love is not provoked. People are easily provoked because of the shortage of love. Regardless of how much we are rebuked, we will not be provoked if we are filled with the divine love. Love does not take account of evil. We have to confess that we have taken account of other people’s evil. Some wives have a record, an account, of their husband’s failures and defects. This record may not be written, but it is in their mind.
The elders need to realize that in their shepherding, they have to cover others’ sins, to not take account of others’ evils. Love covers all things [1 Cor. 13:7], not only the good things but also the bad things. Whoever uncovers the defects, shortcomings, and sins of the members of the church is disqualified from the eldership. Our uncovering of the members under our eldership, our shepherding, annuls our qualification. Love also endures all things and never falls away. First Corinthians 13 concludes by saying, “Now there abide faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (v. 13).
According to my observation throughout the years, most of the co-workers have a human spirit of “power” but not of love. We need a spirit of love to conquer the degradation of today’s church. We should not say or do anything to threaten people. Instead, we should always say and do things with a spirit of love, which has been fanned into flame. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 5, “The Vital Groups,” pp. 123-125)
If we hate each other, we will have endless strife, but love covers not only one sin or some sins but all sins [Prov. 10:12]. James ends his writing by saying, “My brothers,… he who turns a sinner back from the error of his way will save that one’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). Should we hate one who is not up to the standard, who is led astray from the truth, or should we love him? We may not love those who are not able to live in corporate living. We may love only the particular group of those who live properly in our homes. This is altogether not according to the Spirit of the Lord as revealed in the Bible. If a brother is good, he does not need our love very much, because he has already been sufficiently loved. Nearly everyone loves a good person, but what about one who is led astray from the truth? If a brother is led astray from the truth to attend the denominations or go to the movies, our small group may feel that we do not need him, and we do not accept him because he is not qualified. This is not love; this is hate. Love covers many sins. Even if we know that he goes to the movies, we should not tell others. This is to cover him. We do not like to uncover him or expose him. To uncover is not love. Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. We would rather be like the sons of Noah who covered their father’s nakedness, which was due to his drunkenness. We do not like to uncover others. Covering brings in blessing, but uncovering brings in a curse. This is not a small matter. Those who uncover suffer the curse, but those who cover others’ sins, defects, and shortcomings enjoy, gain, and receive blessing. Cover a multitude of sins in James 5:20 is an Old Testament expression used by James to indicate that turning an erring brother back is to cover his sins so that he is not condemned. Cover…sins here equals sins…forgiven in verse 15, as in Psalm 32:1, which says, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven; / Whose sin is covered.” (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 5, “A Word of Love to the Co-workers, Elders, Lovers, and Seekers of the Lord,” pp. 15-16)
Further Reading: CWWN, vol. 46, ch. 174; CWWL, 1952, vol. 2, “The Vision, Ministry, and Leading of the Lord’s Serving Ones,” ch. 1