The Believer’s Badge

The Apostle Peter echoed King Solomon’s words “…love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12) when he said in his first New Testament epistle “And above all things have fervent charity (love) among yourselves:  for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

What a world of difference that would make were it to be the rule of everyday living for those who know something of the “love of God…shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

When a person identified with the covenant promises made to Abraham, he did so by being circumcised; the badge that identified one as a follower of Moses and as an adherent to the law that Moses received on Mt. Sinai was the keeping of the Sabbath; then when the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, preached that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand, people identified with his message by submitting to his baptism; and the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed to his disciples in his Upper Room Discourse on His way to Calvary that “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  (John 13:35). 

Some years ago, a large, growing church decided to buy a building adjacent to their property for future expansion, a building that they purposed to have demolished in preparation for their future development needs.  It was discussed and decided that a committee should be appointed to get the building torn down as soon as feasible, but the pastor said there was no need to appoint a committee as he would be glad to take care of it, so it was left in his hands to do.  

However, the pastor failed to give the demolition crew adequate information, evidently, and another building next to the recently purchased building was demolished instead of the intended structure.

When the deacons met next, the pastor broke an awkward silence by saying, “I just wanted to tell you, I love you.”  One deacon said, “Out with it.”  So, the pastor told them what he had done and the huge mistake that he had made, to which another deacon said, “We don’t pay you much so we should not expect much.”  Another voiced, “Be careful, he’ll get your house tonight.”  And yet another, “That’s OK, he’d get the wrong one!”

Then one after another of those deacons stood to testify how the pastor had led them and many of their family members to Christ and how he had baptized them and visited them when they were sick and welcomed their newborns into the world with a prayer while the baby was still in the hospital with Mom and how he had conducted funerals for their parents and had officiated weddings for their sons and daughters.  It was soon evident that in that room that night, love did cover a multitude of sins and deacon after deacon assured the embarrassed pastor that they loved him no matter what and that now they owned an extra building, simple as that!

The ending is not always as comforting as that though.  Sometimes those we love (or should love) the most we inflict the most severe pain upon.  Some poet opined, “Look at the roses, saluting each other; look at the herds all at peace on the plains.  Man, only man, makes war on his brother, and laughs in his heart at his peril and pain.” (Unknown).

Let us not forget what the world will identify us by, that is, our love one for another.  It comes through our hearts from the heart of God and flows to others in the world around us.  It is a treasure that multiplies by division and when given as a gift it simply comes back bigger and greater.  “You can give it away, throw it away, empty your pockets, shake the basket, turn the glass upside down; and tomorrow you will have more than ever.”

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)

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