In this day and age it seems almost impossible to find a friend who has a deep conviction about being a friend. We live in a time when everything is disposable and this even applies to our friendships. Too many women are only interested in being a friend if it benefits them but when their friend becomes too needy or simply doesn’t add value to their life, they move on. As Christian women we need to be different. Not only do we need to stick around and offer friendship in difficult times but we also need to go as far as to cover our friends’ transgressions. This means that when they mess up you draw even closer to them and do whatever you can to cover their transgression. Yes, you read it correctly, the Bible actually tells us to cover our friends’ transgressions. If we take a look at the Hebrew text we will see that cover from this verse means to plump, that is, to fill up the hollows; by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy) and conceal. So it is blatantly saying that we should cover up rather than expose. The word transgression in the Hebrew text means rebellion, sin or transgression. So once again we cannot find any hidden meaning or other explanation, it means exactly what it says in English. It says that covering a person’s sin is the loving thing to do but to tell others about it separates friends.
Consider your friendships. Are you the calibre friend that can keep things to herself or do you need to spread the word and expose your friends sinfulness? Sadly Christian women are the worse in some ways because they can disguise repeating a matter in prayer making it look noble but actually it’s just another form of gossip. Be careful that when you share personal information about a friend for prayer purposes that you are not merely repeating the matter thereby separating you and your friend. We don’t all need to know all the details all of the time in order to pray effectively. Simply to say that someone is struggling is sufficient on most occasions. If in doubt rather cover the transgression and only confide in your leader, husband or someone you can trust if you are genuinely concerned.
Jesus is our ultimate example of covering our transgression because it is in Him, when we are covered by Him, that we are free. It is as if He wraps His arms around us to form a cocoon and in this cocoon of His love, we are transformed and become a new creation. We are embraced as a worm and release as a butterfly. If Jesus does this for us shouldn’t we do the same for our friends? Shouldn’t we cover them and love them until they are transformed?
King’s David in the Psalms calls it the joy of forgives. Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Blessed in this verse is translated ‘how happy’. How happy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Put yourself in your friends’ shoes, or perhaps you have already been there or are there right now. How happy would you feel if you had another chance? If you sin didn’t define you but was covered until you found freedom. Its God’s place to judge but it’s our place to love sinners as Jesus did. Let me finish off with the beautiful words from a man who called himself a great sinner, John Newton.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
We were all once lost and blind and when we begin to see we will realise the value of covering other’s transgressions just as someone covered ours in the times when we were lost and blind. Peter put it like this in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.”