This will be a three-part series. The first two are portions of sermons by John MacArthur and are somewhat lengthy but let me encourage you to give the material a chance…its content is so good and helpful for anyone’s spiritual growth. I’ll give you plenty of time to read through and meditate on each part before moving along to the next one. Please trust me…this is good stuff and well worth the read and application. If anything, I highlighted and underlined a few pieces from each…zero in on those truths and pray over them. Allow God to make the appropriate changes in your life if necessary.
Love Bears All Things (Part 1 of 3).
“Love bears all things.” Now, this is a tremendous word, and I want you to see the depth of it. It’s a glorious truth. The word “bear,” although it is used in various shades of meaning in the New Testament, primarily means “to cover with silence,” to cover with silence. Or if you want one word, “to suppress.” To suppress. That’s the basic meaning.
It doesn’t mean that love puts up with anything and love can be shoved around because it doesn’t have any dignity. But what it does mean is that love out of a regard and a respect and an honest concern for the real value of another person, love will do everything it can to cover up and suppress the sin of that person. Genuine love is reluctant to drag a scandal in front of anyone. When it says it “bears all things,” it’s not in the sense of “Oh, I’ll put up with that some more” or “I’ll endure this trial,” it means it is disposed to cover over the ugliness in someone else’s life.
You know, you can illustrate the fact that this is a normal human behavior pattern by looking at yourself and your own children. It is normal for depravity to want to uncover everybody’s evil. There’s no question about that. Go to the newsstand and check out the latest magazines. True Confessions. Secrets of Mr. So-and-so, the secret marriage of So-and-so and So-and-so. And all the books. I’m telling you, the bookstores are jammed with exposés.
You see, depravity is always looking to find the skeleton in somebody else’s closet because it gives a sense of self-righteousness, always. Your children are a good illustration. So are mine, just so you realize I’m on the same wave length you’re on. They come into the world depraved. And one of the first manifestations of their depravity is the eagerness with which they want to tell on their brothers and sisters. And that’s one thing you have to discipline out of them.
Ours will come in and say, “Do you know what Matt’s doing?” And I’ll say, “I don’t know what Matt – Matt’s doing and I’m not interested.” That’s one way to deal with it. And then when they’re gone, I go find out what Matt’s doing. One of them will run down the stairs, “So-and-so’s jumping on the bed.” You know, that’s typical. Why? Because depravity is always trying to uncover somebody else so it can gain a sense of self-respect and righteousness and look good in your eyes.
You know, it’s kind of sad, but some people never grow out of that. Some people spend their whole life tattling. You know, I always question people who are married and all they can do is talk about the errors and the faults and the sins of their partner [see the contrast 1 Corinthians 13:5]. I question whether they know the meaning of love because love throws a blanket over somebody else’s faults. That’s what the word means. The Corinthians didn’t know the meaning of that. They were exposing anybody. Chapter 6, if somebody offended one of them, they dragged them into court and sued them publicly before a pagan judge. But love throws a kindly mantle over the faults and weaknesses and sins of others.
First Peter 4:8, Peter put it this way – it’s beautiful. He said, “Love covers a” – what? – “multitude of sins.” Love is a big, huge blanket that runs around throwing itself over people’s faults, not exposing them. Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” Have you ever noticed how easily you dismiss the faults of those you love? Think of the person you love the most, and they do something wrong. “Ah, well, there’s so much good about them. I mean everybody makes a mistake.”
Now think about the person you don’t like. Don’t think too long, it’ll be a sin. Or imagine that you didn’t like somebody – that’s better – and they do something wrong. And you love it, you see, because you really wish it. But love dismisses the sins of the one it loves, and the one it doesn’t love, pounces on them, see. Love will warn, yes, and love will exhort and love will rebuke and love will discipline, but love will cover, not expose.
Beautiful characteristic of love – give you a good illustration of it. The best illustration I could think of the cross of Jesus Christ. Love has a redemptive quality. You know, God loved us. God didn’t sit up in heaven with the Trinity and say, “You know, those human beings are gross. What do you angels think about them?” “Oh, yeah, especially that MacArthur one. He is bad.” And they didn’t have an eternal discussion about us.
We are not the subject of heavenly gossip. Isn’t that nice to know? He is the covering for our sin. You see, God is not in the business of exposing. Ultimately, He’s in the business of covering. Rather than sit in righteous resentment and gossip with the Trinity and the angels about the sins of men, God just came to a cross, threw a mantle over man’s sin, and bore their sin in His own body.
Now, let me tell you something about love. Love throws a mantle over sin because love has a redemptive element. Love is always after redemption. Love wants to redeem, it wants to buy back. Love is not judgmental, love is not condemning, love is redeeming. Listen to this. “He carried our griefs, He bore our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. Our chastisement was on Him.” Isaiah 53. That is love.
Now, let me tell you something. Love will actually go beyond throwing a blanket. Love is so empathetic that love will feel the pain. Love will actually endure the agony. Love will bear it. Love will feel the pain. When a…brother or sister sins and I love that person, I hurt. I don’t want to expose. I’m willing to bear the pain. And then love will redeem and forgive. The redemptive character of love is willing to take and throw a blanket over sin, to feel the pain of that sin. And I’ll go a third step, it is willing to take on the consequence of that sin. True love is.
On the cross, God didn’t just throw a mantle over sin, He didn’t just feel sympathetic about it, He did what? He bore our sins in His own body. Genuine love is never quick to exploit or expose or gloat or condemn. It throws a blanket over sin, carries the burden of it, even takes the blame for it, even accepts the punishment.
In Cromwell’s time, a soldier was condemned to die by execution. He was to die at the ringing of the curfew bell. He was engaged to be married to a beautiful young girl. The girl pleaded with the judge. With tears, she pleaded with Cromwell to spare his young life, all in vain. All the preparations were made for the execution. The city awaited the signal from the bell at curfew. The sexton, who was old and deaf, threw himself against the rope, as he had for years. He pulled it and pulled it and pulled it, and he didn’t know it, but no sound came out.
The girl had climbed to the top of the belfry, reached out, caught, and held onto the tongue of the huge bell at the risk of her life. And as he rang it, she was smashed against the side, but the bell was silent. At length, the bell ceased to swing. She managed to get back to the edge and came down, descended wounded and bleeding. Cromwell was waiting and everybody was waiting at the place of execution, and he wanted to know why the bell had not rung.
And the girl arrived and told him the story. And a poet recorded it for all time, and this is what he said, “At his feet she told her story, showed her hands all bruised and torn; and her sweet young face still haggard with the anguish it had worn; touched his heart with sudden pity, lit his eyes with misty light, ‘Go, your lover lives,’ said Cromwell. ‘Curfew will not ring tonight.’”
Here’s somebody who was willing to go where love goes, throw a mantle over sin, feel sympathy for sin, and take punishment for sin – somebody else’s. That’s redemptive love. It is always, always the quality of love, that love suppresses someone else’s sin, sympathizes with someone else’s sin, suffers for someone else’s sin if it can.
To what extent do you bear the pain to cover someone’s sin? It’s a fair question. Do we really cover other people’s evil? Love does. Love bears all things.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 2 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter