At chapter lengths, I have always found the book of Proverbs difficult to comment on. After all, each chapter is made up of individual proverbs, which often seem to stand alone. There is structure in the book, but the individual proverbs still stand out. And so, today, one proverb in particular caught my eye: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (10:12). Here is a great contrast. There’s lots of strife going on in our world at the moment. Should we take Solomon at his word? I think so! What, then, is the solution? It is love, but not the sort of sappy, sentimental, superficial love that so many prize. Rather, here is a genuine love that brings peace.
Peter seems to echo this proverb: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). He is writing in the context of having mentioned Christ’s suffering and God’s great mercy by which “he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). I am struck, as I often am, by the truth that the only real solution to our estrangement from God and from one another is the gospel. No great social crusade, no significant government legislation, and no pompous lecturing from the influencers of the age (I didn’t watch the Academy Awards on Sunday, but have read about them.) will bring genuine peace, but the gospel will!
So may the vain, contentious world
See how true Christians love,
And glorify our Saviour’s grace,
And seek that grace to prove. –C. M. Colchester