… love covers (1 Peter 4:8)
… He clothed them (Gen 3:21)
… they covered him (Gen 9:23)
One of the things I love about God is that He never just says, Do this rule. He always demonstrates a clear model to follow. To me, He is the forerunner of what it means to cover an offense with love.
God was the first to sacrifice in the name of love in order to cover the sin of another. He loved all His creation yet He sacrificed His own creatures so He could cover Adam and Eve’s offence. It must have been hard, but that’s what love does.
And who was He hiding their sin from? Obviously not Himself, maybe Satan? Although Satan was aware of getting them to disobey God, I’m not sure he understood the full ramifications of what he had just set in motion, but that’s another post. Perhaps it was from Adam and Eve themselves?
It wasn’t to “hide” in a fearful deceptive way, like Adam and Eve did with the leaves right after they disobeyed. There is nothing anyone can hide from God, He knows all, is all, sees all. But when God covered them, that was something completely different, it was done with a pure heart. It was done for them.
Covering is for love
After Noah and the gang disembarked and were safely moving on with their lives on dry land, there was cause for celebration for sure! Having come from a long line of weekend-warrior alcoholics, I know what a blindingly drunk party looks like and the numbing affect it has on the senses.
I don’t think it was a one-time event in Noah’s life; he was a drinker. That’s how his two older sons knew immediately what to do when the youngest son was disrespectful. Shem and Japheth showed love for Noah by covering him when he was unable, to do it himself, because of sin.
It wasn’t so much about modesty as it was about demonstrating love through respecting their father. Ham choose to expose the sin; he chose wrong.
Love covered my sin
Sometimes, sadly, our first response isn’t to reciprocate what God did for us — what Jesus did for us — what Shem and Japheth did for Noah: To cover. Too often we’re like Ham, we want to point out the sin and expose it.
It’s not that we don’t need help. On occasion, marriage is hard and sometimes we do need a voice of reason. But if we are intellectually honest with ourselves, not in most cases. In most cases, it’s a matter of, I don’t think you’re doing it right; my way is right, you’re wrong. You need to change.
Our first response is to reveal what our husbands have done and that makes us wrong on three counts. First: We are more concerned about ourselves than our husbands. Second: We are complaining out of inconvenience to our own lives. And third, we just think we are better than them because we can see their sin and offences and we think theirs is worse than ours.
Because of selfishness we miss the whole point. The purpose of putting on God’s covering of love isn’t primarily for self, it’s for others.
We wear the covering of love because that’s what Jesus did for us. He covers my sin so that I may come boldly before God. If I’m being continually remade into Christ’s image, I’ll behave more and more like Him. So shouldn’t I want to try and cover in the name of love, like He did?
WHY? Why cover it up?
The covering of love doesn’t pretend the sin isn’t real, nor does it take away our flaws, it just hides them from all-out exposure to everyone else.
… Except God.
Now God is left alone with the person and the problem, to work quietly and to completely heal their heart. It’s only God who can really tell* what needs changing, healing or to be left alone. And no one wants the ugliness inside them exposed for everyone to see. Most of us just close off when there’s a threat of exposure, including shutting out God.
My job? To cover as the process is happening. Jesus doesn’t cover my sin with His blood to hide it from God so I can slip into heaven with it. Jesus covers to make it private: Just between me and God. This is where my salvation is worked out, privately under the cover of love.
As wives, we have the distinction of being invited to work co-operatively with God as we cover in love. So I’m left with a question. Am I going to be like Ham and expose sin and flaws to others (sidenote: like Satan the accuser of the brethren**). Or, will I choose to cover like Shem and Japheth?
God places the onus on me to figure out the difference. In this responsibility, I get to see who I really am by discovering the real motive in my heart. Why do I want to expose his flaws? Or, why do I want to cover his flaws?
It’s tricky ground for sure. Navigating the steps on the soil of our own hearts.
October 18, 2016
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister,
My name is Jake Leguee, and I am a farmer in Saskatchewan. I am writing this letter to express my tremendous concern with your plan to impose a carbon tax on my province. I chose to publish this as an open letter so the rest of this nation has an opportunity to understand what a carbon tax could mean to other farmers like myself.
While I recognize you have environmental goals you wish to pursue, understand that the consequences of a carbon tax may be severe for my farm. Mr. Trudeau, you may not have much experience with agriculture, but let me tell you, it is an amazing career. Not only do I get to run my own business, but I get to run one that is also…
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We cheapen grace when it’s only received, but the value of grace is exponentially maximized when we give it away. Grace will always change the storyline because it changes everything it touches, especially in marriage. The closer the relationship the deeper the risk for pain, but this is how we bring the greatest results, for everyone.
Joseph changed his storyline the day he forgave his brothers (Genesis 37-50) when it was within his power to retaliate. David changed his storyline by showing respect and kindness to an enemy that was trying to destroy him (2 Samuel 9), instead of going to war.
Jesus didn’t change our storylines so that we could take His grace and only receive it for ourselves, but rather so that we could share it with each other. He gave us a real life demonstration at the cross of how this grace changes outcomes: He showed us how to capitalize on it.
THE POWER TO CHOOSE
Unity is the common thread that is weaved over every story where grace touches. Grace bridges us from separation because of offence to unity and in the process makes us spiritual heroes in God’s eyes.
God gave me the power to change my own storyline from retaliation to forgiveness through the power that was bestowed on me when I received Grace. Grace has a power that the world just doesn’t get. It isn’t until you exercise it through giving it away that you can increase its strength and feel its empowerment.
I hear over and over again how difficult it is to step out of the euphoria of the wedding day into the reality where marriage is lived out. I agree completely: With some marriages, it is impossible to do – in human strength. But when you bring a supernatural being into the picture, the view changes.
God has good plans for our marriages (Jeremiah 29:11), plans that we cannot even begin to understand (Isaiah 55:8-9). Plans that He ordained from the beginning (Ephesians 2:10 ). He knew all this before we were born (Psalm 139:16). He then spends the rest of our lives renewing our minds (Ephesians 4:23) and changing our hearts (Romans 2:12) to come onside with His plan of grace.
I’ve heard it said that the main purpose of marriage is to drive us closer to Christ. And although that sounds like an epic and beautiful sentiment, I don’t see how I can get any closer to Christ than His presence inside me. Also, what about the people not married yet, or the ones that never marry? With this application that would mean they don’t get driven closer to Christ? No, that can’t be right.
Ok, there is some truth there: Marriage does maximize pressure on people because they live in close proximity to each other, day in day out. This pressure in life pushes sin to the surface and in turn, our actions affect those closest to us, but that’s far from being the grand purpose or design of marriage. Having teenage kids or a difficult roommate, or any number of stressors in life can drive you to seek Christ.
In order to find the main purpose of marriage, we have to be transported beyond our own circumstances into the bigger grander picture. If we allow this to happen, we quickly learn that it’s not about us at all, but about God and what my marriage says about Him?
There are many positive results and benefits of marriage but the singular reason is that marriage is the demonstration in the natural world of the supernatural unity that Paul calls the mystery of Christ and His church. The more a marriage mirrors this unity the more it fulfills its grand purpose. And only then does it become truly beautiful.
The more I indulge in entitlement at the cost of my spouse, the less I represent God’s unity, making my marriage useless because it’s not fulfilling its intended purpose.