The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
Defining What It Means to Bear All Things
The description “love bears all things” carries the idea of covering something. It is a word you find from time to time being used to describe a house being covered with a roof. The implication is that a roof serves as a protector for the house.
Bearing all things means that instead of spreading or parading or resenting, you cover. It means you’re reluctant to drag a scandal in front of anyone or uncovering one’s ugliness.
The mercy seat is an image of covering sin. The mercy seat was the lid or plate covering the Ark of the Covenant. On the lid were two statues of cherubim with their wings spread out. The O.T. word for “mercy seat” is the same word we derive the word “propitiation,” which is a theological term for the idea of God being satisfied or appeased, because His wrath was poured out on His Son, and now we are reconciled to Him. In Leviticus 16:14, on the Day of Atonement, we read that blood was sprinkled between the two cherubim because it was that literal location symbolizing the presence of God. It conveyed to the Israelites God was there and ready to cover their sins.
Love is eager to extend such grace to others as well – to follow in God’s footsteps and cover the sins of others. Peter, picking up this idea from Paul, says that love covers a plethora or multitude of sins (I Pet 4:8). Solomon says it is to our benefit that we overlook offenses (Prov 19:11). In his book The Peacemaker, Ken Sande reminds us,
“Many disputes are so insignificant that they should be resolved by quietly and deliberately overlooking as offense. ‘A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense’ (Prov 19:11; see also 12:16; 17:14; Col 3:13; I Peter 4:8). Overlooking an offense is a form of forgiveness and involves a deliberate decision not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness or anger.”
Biblical Examples of NOT Bearing All Things
In Ch. 6 of I Corinthians, we see the failure of the Corinthians to cover sins committed against one another. We see their desire for revenge and the pursuit of lawsuits towards one another.
An extreme example of the lack of covering sins might be James and John – nicknamed “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). They were likely called this because of their quickness to want to see God judge evil-doers, as exemplified in Luke 9.
“51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ 55 But he turned and rebuked them” (Luke 9:51-55).
A Biblical Example of Bearing All Things
On the positive side, other than the example of God who is the quick-to-forgiver, we can also consider the example of Joseph. After being sold into slavery and later promoted as king, he had every legal opportunity to punish his brothers when they came to beg him for food during the famine, Joseph spoke to them in this loving way,
“19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Gen 50:19-21).
Love bears all things. Henry Ward Beecher, an American pastor in the 1800’s said, “God pardons like a mother who kisses the offense into everlasting forgetfulness.” Love bears all things.
 The Peacemaker, pg. 25
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