Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. Proverbs 10:12
A few things to be observed about this verse. Where hatred is in the heart, strife is in the community. Hatred is unable to overlook faults, flaws, differences, and takes offense at just about everything.Â An unregenerate heart is necessarily a heart that seethes with hatred for God, and therefore towards his fellow man as well.
ThisÂ is the exact opposite of the two greatest commandments, to love God and love thy neighbor (Mt. 22:36-40). If we do not love Godâ€“as an unregenerate man isÂ unable toâ€“we will also be unable to love ourÂ neighbor. Because the sinful heart is at enmity with God (Rom. 8:7, 1 Cor. 2:14, Col. 1:21), it is necessarily at odds with his neighbor, who bears the image of God.
In our disobedience, we hate God and we do not love our neighbor as ourself, we hate our neighbor, and abhor him. We are locked in a struggle for what we perceive as scarce resources, and because we are insatiable in our lustful passions and appetites, inevitably someone else will be reaching for the very thing our lusts crave. It will pit us against our fellow man, and therefore we will want to exposeÂ his every weakness, to remove him as an opponent. This isn’t living in peaceful fellowship. This is a meat-grinder mentality towards our neighbor, chewing each other up, and spitting each other out.
Love not only overlooks immaturities and social quirks of others, which is what we as humans are accustomed to do anyway, but it even passes over the sins of others; not holding them against each other.But notice how theÂ proverb sets hatred and love at variance with each other. Hatred results in a community divided. Love, on the other hand, covers over all sins. Love not only overlooks immaturities and social quirks of others, which is what we as humans are accustomed to do anyway, but it even passes over the sins of others; not holding them against each other. Sin rips a community apart; love binds it together. I can get along with someone’s immaturities and idiosyncrasies, but forgiving and covering overÂ sins is something that is a grace that must be given to us. Only God can forgive sins, and only God’s love through us can result in this sort of disposition towards dealing with the sins of others we are to be in fellowship & community with.
ThisÂ means we are in need of a new heart, given to us by God. Love enables us to forgive, and cover over the sins and failures of others. Notice this doesn’t redefine sin as somehow “not sin“; but it means that there is now something beyond retribution for wrong-doings.Â Now there is a redemptive twist in the story; reconciliation is possible. And only because God poured out his wrath for sin upon His son, and in so doing, covered over the sins of the redeemed;Â demonstrating His great love for his elect. We are to follow his example, and our hatred for sins against us should find its satiation in Christ’s death; andÂ what is left is a supernatural love which seeks redemption and reconciliation, and that covers over all sins.