I dialed my friend’s number as I whispered a prayer to the Lord, “Please bring Your truth, understanding and healing to this relationship.” My heart was hopeful, but after an unexpectedly messy conversation, my heart ached and tears spilled down my cheeks. Her words seemed unreasonable, judgmental, based in suspicion rather than truth. A call for healing resulted in greater sorrow. I stared at my silent cell phone as if it would give me some answers, but I knew I needed to be on my knees.
I prayed and sought the Lord. His command to me was crystal clear as He spoke to me through Proverbs 17:9. “Sharon, cover this completely in My love. Do not defend yourself. Pray for your sister in the Lord. Your heart has been for her, not against her. Keep your heart postured that way. Stay soft before Me.” Then came the crescendo in His command to me: “Do not repeat this matter…not even to a trusted confidant.” His command to me was emphatic and inflexible.
Gossip was not the issue here. I did not want to gossip about my friend. Before the Lord, I wanted to honor that friendship and His Word. I did not want to tear down a relationship He had built. "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)
However, I did want to talk with a dear, mature, trusted friend/confidant about what had been said to me. I wanted understanding, accountability and truth. Was I way off base? Did I handle this incorrectly? Was I seeing things clearly? Was I being unreasonable? Was there truth in what she had said to me?
Nonetheless, His command to me was immutable: “Do not repeat the matter…not even to a trusted confidant.” Why? So my friend’s reputation would not be questioned or harmed. So suspicions did not spring up about her. So others would not have an opening to tear her down. So my trustworthiness as a friend as unto the Lord maintained integrity before Him. So I did not cause further separation in my relationship with my friend or any of her other friendships by repeating the matter. Love covers. My love for her wanted to protect her. Peace and healing were my heart’s prayer for our relationship. I desired unity, not separation. My heart was grieved and I desired restoration. Only by honoring God's Word,obeying His commands and yielding to the Holy Spirit could this occur.
“In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a [wo]man of prayer.” Psalm 109:4 The other command and desire of my heart the Lord had given me was to pray for her. I prayed sincerely for my friend. That her family would be blessed and abide in Him daily. That her unsaved family members would come to know the Lord and walk with Him with fervor. That God would bless any ministry to which He put her heart and hands. That her friendships would blossom and flourish beautifully. That He would show her His favor. That He would heal her heart. That trust would be restored. That His truth would reign.
"He will quiet you with His love." Zephaniah 3:17 God quieted my heart with His perfect love. The Lord had told me to “Hush your heart with My love and pray.” By obeying Him even through the pain of the fragmented relationship, God gave me the treasure of tasting His wonderful truths. His Word brings life. His commands bring forth fruit. Love covers.
By obeying His command and quietly trusting Him alone with the details and by not repeating the matter, one of the greatest joys He gave me was the blessing of giving my friend a precious, intangible gift. Perhaps a gift she does not even know was unwrapped for her: the gift of being covered in love by not repeating the matter. The gift of forgiveness. The gift of freedom that she did not have to be concerned about me speaking about the matter to anyone. God had kept my heart pure towards her. The gift of covering in love. So simple, yet sometimes so rare. This is a gift of grace I would like to receive when I offend someone. It’s a gift I am indeed thankful to have received by gracious and wise friends. (Thank you, Lord, for those precious friends!)
“You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” Psalm 119:4 When we fully obey His commands, such as not repeating a matter, He blesses our hearts and lives with palpable and unspeakable joy. Those secret treasures of obedience that are often just between us and Him are the most precious. Has someone offended you? Trust Him with the details. Simply allow Him to quiet your heart in His perfect love and pray.
Gracious Father, thank You that Your word is truth and life. Help me to cover other’s offenses in Your love and by Your grace, just as I want my offenses to be covered. Guard my heart and tongue such that I would not repeat a matter, causing separation and disunity. When I am offended, give my heart the desire to be a woman of prayer for the one who has offended me. You are gracious and faithful to let me taste the sweet joy that comes from obeying You fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs."
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
(1 Peter 4:8)