Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
Are you a peacemaker? God loves peacemakers. Good men love peacemakers. Do you do all you can to end fights, overlook offences, forgive sinners, reunite enemies, and live peaceably with all men? God blesses peacemakers, and it is a large part of godly wisdom.
Where there is fighting, there is hatred. Conflict cannot exist without hatred. Unless love wins, the strife will get worse. Love does not fight – it covers offences and sins. It seeks peace and pursues it. It cannot tolerate strife; it tries to end fights as soon as possible.
Strife, a word not used as much today, means antagonism, enmity, discord, contention, or dispute. It is fighting and conflict. While it is godly to contend for truth against sin and error, here is personal strife caused by the hatred of those who do not practice love.
Where there is envy, strife, enmity, conflict, or tension, all you need do is look a little deeper to find one or both parties guilty of hatred. Fighting and antagonism do not and cannot exist where each person is practicing Christian charity, or the love of the Bible.
But there are wicked persons, with hearts full of malice and hatred, which all men have by nature (Tit 3:3), who delight in stirring up contentions and quarrels by talebearing, whispering, evil surmising, and cursing. These profane persons have no conscience or compassion, like Ham and Shimei, and they will receive a similar fate from the holy and just God and from noble men (Gen 9:20-27; II Sam 16:5-14; I Kgs 2:8-9; Is 29:20-21).
Charity forgives sins and forgets sins, just as God forgives and forgets them. Love hides and conceals sins under the same forgiving cover that Jesus Christ provides every saint. This is covering sin, and it is a rule of life for saints of the most High (Pr 17:9; Jas 5:20; I Pet 4:8). But hatred, growing from anger and pride, loves to dig up evil, spread evil reports, and create strife and trouble (Pr 15:18; 16:27-28; 26:21; 28:25; 29:22; Jas 4:1).
Can you cover sins like Joseph, whose brothers could not believe his forgiveness, even after many gifts, favors, and passage of time (Gen 45:1-15; 50:15-21)? He put the best perspective on their horrible crime and wept over all of them. How did the Lord reward this one son of Jacob? He gave him a double blessing of two tribes in Israel (Josh 14:4)!
Here is a golden opportunity for child training by good parents. Children must be trained and corrected strictly in this matter of hatred and love, strife and peace, covering sins or exposing them. The natural antagonism and competitiveness of children creates a perfect setting for teaching godly traits of love, graciousness, forgiveness, and peacemaking.
Love has many facets (I Cor 13:4-7), but this proverb emphasizes one of them – covering sins. Love overlooks offences against it; hatred gets offended, holds bitterness, or plots revenge. Love forgets and hides the sins of the repentant; hatred remembers them or spreads them to others. Love hears rumors, or even factual news of others’ sins, but never repeats them; hatred craves private information and spreads it to any listeners.
Can you cover all sins, as the Preacher taught here? Peter once sought a limit of seven offences for covering sins, but the Lord Jesus pressed him to seventy times seven (Matt 18:21-22)! How can you fight others over a few pence, when Almighty God has forgiven you ten thousand talents (Mat 18:23-35)! These things should never occur among those who are Christians, and the sure judgment of the wicked servant is just and appropriate.
Covering sins is not compromise. It is not withholding Scriptural judgment, whether in the family, church, business, or nation. The rightful authority should speedily execute judgment, where God has ordained it. But covering sins should occur when the offences are against you, where there is repentance, or you are not in direct authority.
Hatred of sin is holy and good (Pr 6:16-19; Ps 45:7). But hatred of others, shown by anger at personal offences, ignoring repentance, whispering about sins, and talebearing is murder in God’s judgment (Matt 5:21-26). It proves a person to be without eternal life and living for the devil with a spirit from hell (John 8:44; James 3:14-16; I John 3:15).
What if a person says, “Oh, how I love Jesus,” but they stir up trouble, do not forgive personal offences, ignore repentance by sinners, and reveal sins to others? They are lying hypocrites, for the Bible says they are murdering descendants of Cain (I John 3:10-15).
Look at the character of Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save sinners. He had no respect for the self-loving “righteous,” for He knew the blackness of their hearts (Mark 2:15-17). Choose today to forgive and cover sins in love, so that you might easily and honestly pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matt 6:12).
The lesson here is the basis for true peace – love. Where there is strife, contention, and tension, there is hatred behind the false handshakes and lying words of murderers. It is your wisdom to live this lesson yourself, avoid wicked persons that hate, and train such evil out of your children. Be the greatest peacemaker in the world by practicing the wisdom of this proverb. May the Lord Jesus grant you the grace and wisdom for the task.
The lesson here is also the great gulf between the wise and foolish, between the righteous and wicked, between the sons of God and the sons of Belial. When Jesus met repentant sinners, He freely forgave them; when self-righteous Pharisees observe sinners, they despise them and hate God’s free and full forgiveness of them (Luke 7:36-50; 15:25-32).
Love is the greatest evidence of eternal life. Do you live peaceably with all men, especially other Christians (Rom 12:18; Gal 6:10)? If you believe God loves you, prove it by loving others; if you claim to love God, prove it also by loving others. Since God is love, those that are truly God’s will love others (Jn 13:34-35; I Jn 3:10-24; 4:7-21; 5:1-2).