Monday, February 04, 2008
The Covering - Part Seven
Prov 17:9 “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends”
In protecting relationships that we really value, it is imperative that you not only NOT keep a record of wrongs, but that you to the contrary, that you learn from Jesus how to cover them in edifying words and prayer. This starts with our spouses and children and goes on to all relationships. The key is in Eph 5:25-28. Jesus set the example for us. It's powerful if we pay attention and learn. It says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
Okay, here’s what we need to ask ourselves; how did Jesus love the church? We read that He made us - the church, holy, by the washing with water through the word. What does that mean? It means this. Jesus lived and died without sin. He died being punished as a sinner, yet He was not guilty - He had never sinned. We were guilty of sin, not Him. The punishment we deserved for our guilt, He took upon Himself as an act of love. His taking our punishment is what absolves us from our sin when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. God’s Word - the Bible, tells us this. Therefore, it's His Word or words that wash and cleanse us. Therefore words have the power to cleanse and set free!
Believers are declared by God has righteous holy because of their faith that He said so, but think about it. Are you really righteous? Are your thoughts and actions really holy? No way! You and I have a fault list. But, that isn't how Jesus views us. No, His love, death, and resurrection took care of our fault list. So how does He see you and I? As radiant, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. That is how He chooses to see you! You may be a work in progress and feel overwhelmed by how much change is needed in you. But God put a robe of righteousness upon you to cover all that up. He wanted to cover anything that wasn’t beautiful with something beautiful to make you radiant and without stain. Think about that!
Then Jesus says, Husbands, love your wives (or anyone you are in a godly relationship with) this way. Don't keep a record of wrongs. Even though you see the faults in someone, remember that Jesus decided out of His love to look past them for you. He even died for you to make that happen. Rom 5:8-9 says, "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!" So then, that is what we are to do for others. Look beyond their faults and look to what they can and will become as we cover them in prayer and believe. This is how God released us from His wrath and from what we deserve for our wrong doing. Can we forgive others while they are still sinners – while they still offend us – while they appear less than perfect? Can we cover them up with love like Jesus did us before His Father?
Lastly and most important to know and understand. When someone bugs us, we desire their behavior to change. When we get mad and yell, or in some way express our discontent for their behavior, demanding they change but expressing it in an unedifying way – at that point, what is actually happening? While we are venting, they are putting up walls. They recoil believing your mission is faultfinding, unconvinced you love or care for them. You lose your chance to positively influence them. So, the very behavior you want to change, you won't. You alienate them and only make it worse.
Covering them is forgiving them and instead praying and encouraging them in a positive fashion having confidence God is working through you and your prayers and having faith that the Lord will work in their life – over time – JUST LIKE HE DOES WITH YOU – OVER TIME! Someone is praying for you right? The Holy Spirit is working in you isn’t He? Then pray and have faith that the Lord is doing the same in them. If you handle it this way, then you can have confident faith that no matter what the circumstances, God will prevail in their life over time.
It was my future sister-in-law that first shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me. She was bold and confident that God would answer her prayers. Although to me my life seemed very sinful, she never came at me that way. I'll never forget her words. Sharon said, "Tim, you might as well give up and give your life over to Jesus. I'm going to be praying for you anyway and the Lord always answers my prayers. He's going to win you over. You might as well give your life to Him right now!" I really did believe that God answered all her prayers. She radiated that expectation. I thought, "There is no sense in fighting God, I might as well." I prayed and asked Jesus in my heart. It was her loving approach that kept my walls down and kept me interested. It was her confidence and strong faith in God answering her prayers that nailed me. It her continuous loving approached that kept me – a defensive person at that time – in a non-defensive posture. Love is a powerful force.
When your heart and approach is this way, others will stay open to what you say. As today's Fresh Manna says, you will be one who covers over an offense and promotes love. God will show you ways to influence through love and you will be a powerful covering that helps God's plan be fulfilled in their life! Praise God
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.