I don’t know about you, but there are times when I’m a messy cook. People always say, “The proof’s in the pudding,” but for me, the proof’s in the cookbook. Just thumbing through my cookbooks can prove my claim, as pages are glued together by an errant drop of batter or boldly decorated with oil splatters.
Not only are my recipe pages victims of unplanned food fights, but my clothes become part of the fray. Homemade barbecue sauce accidentally dribbles down a white blouse, or chocolate pudding on my jeans. Sometimes, if I put my clothes in the washer with hot water and no soap, I could end up with a unique soup!
Because of my propensity to wear ingredients instead of mixing them, I rely on a relic from the past—an apron. I’ve had a lot of different kinds of aprons throughout my decades as a wife, but my favorite is the one my parents got me for my birthday last year. It’s an old-fashioned cobbler apron in a pattern that appears to have come from the 1950s—drawings of dishes, stoves, mixers, and tea kettles, all colored in red and green. Every time I look at it, a gentle breeze of nostalgia caresses my mind.
Now you may not be a woman who must cover up with an apron, but there’s a cover up that we all need to use much more than we do. I Peter 4:8 says, “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” Yep, what the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s what our church needs, as well as our friends and members of our families.
I’m not talking about a kind of love that glosses over the seriousness of others’ sins. Not a love that turns its head the other way when wrongs are committed, or a love that refuses to take a stand when injustice is involved. None of those are really love, but an easy way out of confrontation or accountability. There are times love has to be tough.
The verse in I Peter is a reference to Proverbs 10:12, which says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” When we make a conscious choice to overlook an offense against us, we are taking away the power of strife and adding a huge measurement of love. When someone hurts us, either intentionally or without meaning to, we have the option of tamping our resentment down into the crevices of our heart, where it hardens, or of letting it go. If we cherish resentment, instead of the relationship with the person involved, we are the one to lose.
So the next time you don an apron, or look down at your messy clothes and think, “I should have worn an apron,” remember the greatest cover up of all—love.