Proverbs 10:12 - "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."
1 Peter 4:8 - "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."
As one who can talk, I've been told more than once in my life to "put a lid on it." But one of my family's greatest memories was when the lid went flying off and through the air.
It was almost thirty years ago. My parents, my little sister, Cheryl, and I went from east Tennessee to Dallas to visit my brother who was located there with his first job out of college.
For one of our last meals together, my brother suggested we go to a barbecue place called "Judge Beans." We were enjoying visiting and had just prayed over our food when I grabbed the bottle of ketchup by its base. I assumed the lid was on tightly, which proved to be a bad assumption. Holding the base, I gave that bottle a great big shake with a flick of my wrist. And before any of us knew what was happening, the lid flew off, and the ketchup flew out, and my father was absolutely covered in ketchup. I mean covered!
Literally, everyone stopped breathing to see what my dad would do. And not only us but also the people at both tables next to us stopped breathing too. It seemed like an eternity. Even reliving this memory with my brother a couple years ago, we both recalled how we thought our dad was going to fly off the handle and get angry. The silence was deafening as we all waited for dad to react. He looked down at himself, kind of thought for a moment, then, to our wonder, a smile started to shape on his face, and he laughed. Belly laughed. And all of us, including strangers, joined in the biggest hee-hawing that I know I'd ever experienced.
A man who was covered in ketchup was the man who covered us (namely me) in grace.
'Cause that's what love does. It covers. Accidents. Oopses. And sins.
That day my dad was a picture of Jesus. He was covered with the consequence of my carelessness, coupled with the carelessness of whoever used the ketchup before us and didn't secure the lid in its place. But the man who was covered in others' mistakes was the man who covered us with grace. Thank you, Jesus!
So live today remembering the grace of a man who was covered in ketchup and, even moreso, the Son of Man, Jesus, who was covered in our sin. For God's Word in 1 Peter 4:8 is true: "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson