Transform Your Relationships with Love
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8, New Living Translation)
When you read this scripture really think about what the word cover means. Most of the time when we cover something we think about hiding it from sight or knowledge. Indeed, when we act in a loving manner towards others we will often do things that hide their shortcomings from public knowledge.
For instance, a wife may send out cards and gifts on behalf of her husband because being considerate isn’t one of his strong points. Or, a husband may make sure his wife’s check book is balanced because she doesn’t pay attention to financial details like she should.
Should the husband work on being more thoughtful? Of course! Should the wife learn to handle financial matters responsibly? Most definitely! But until that glorious day occurs, love hides these weaknesses from sight or knowledge through acts of kindness–you know, the simple everyday tasks we do for the people we love because they need us.
Love covers in another way you may not have thought of before. Cover can also mean to act as a substitute or replacement during an absence. Consider the parents whose young teenager has a baby outside of marriage at a very young age. Out of love and compassion, the grandparents step in and raise the child until their child has a chance to mature and assume this responsibility. In this instance, the grandparents have become a substitute or replacement for the child who is unable and unprepared to deal with the consequences of his/her actions.
This is the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated for us. Out of love for us, He was willing to take responsibility for our sins and pay the price for them–death. His death on the cross was the ultimate example of love that covers. When we realize the sacrifice He made for us, it inspires us to love Him and to change our behavior.
We love Him because He first loved us. (John 4:19, New Living Translation)
This is the technique Jesus used with us; He decided to love us first. As we begin to show love for the people in our lives first, our actions open the door for change. Try applying these seven practical ways to show love to your relationships:
- Don’t condemn (Condemnation doesn’t empower people to change; it just gives them another reason to remain the same.)
- Don’t judge (Because we are imperfect too, our perception is often blurred by prejudice, a lack of knowledge and our own fears.)
- Don’t retaliate (Don’t repay evil for evil. Overcome evil with good.)
- Don’t call attention to every mistake (No one will be influenced by someone that only sees his/her faults.)
- Make the first move (Be kind and generous even when they don’t deserve it and have not earned it.)
- Acknowledge and reward every good deed.
- Communicate what you believe they can become, instead of calling them what you don’t want them to be.