Garbage and Grace?
Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins…” (I Peter 4:8)
I went out for my early morning walk this morning, and I promised myself I wouldn’t focus on, or pick up any garbage along the way. Some other day I could do that, I reasoned. I just wanted to enjoy a prayer time and beautiful morning. I think Jesus whispered to me: “You can pray and pick up garbage at the same time.” And wouldn’t you know it, I “suddenly” noticed an empty garbage sack nestled around a barbed wire fence! I filled that sack to overflowing with garbage. And yes, I did pray!
I suppose one has two choices when you see garbage strewn anywhere. The first is to blame and criticize those who litter. Granted, littering is a problem, and I do hope more is done to curtail it. Our second choice? We can simply pick up the garbage and do our part. That may not be the “silver bullet,” but at least in my opinion, it’s better than blaming. I’m not condoning littering, but I have to do something myself to make it better.
The above verse reminds me that ‘love covering a multitude of sins’ is a lot like picking up garbage. I’m not suggesting we simply condone bad behavior, sins, offenses, or just cover things up. I don’t think that’s what this verse is saying. this verse reminds me of three important truths:
First, we all get offended by people’s “garbage.” Yes, we have to set boundaries or create corrections. But we also get to love one another, pick up their garbage, pray for them, keep our hearts from resentment, and go deeper in our love. It takes Holy Spirit power to do so.
Second, we all have garbage! We tend to see other’s garbage more than we see our own. But truly we have enough litter to keep someone else rather busy! And Jesus keeps picking up our garbage. It’s called forgiveness and grace.
Third, others have certainly picked up our garbage in the past! Mothers are certainly a wonderful example, aren’t they? Our moms have been the greatest grace givers in our lives. But there are certainly others! Let’s never forget, that even unbeknownst to us, there have been many, many people in our journey who have picked up our garbage, and quietly prayed for us, loved us, and encouraged us when they could’ve blamed us for the garbage! To them, we are grateful.