Covered or Exposed?

“Do not waste your time bothering whether you love your neighbor—act as if you did.” –C. S. Lewis

There is an insatiable appetite for so-called reality TV these days.

Chances to see a celebrity’s family implode on camera, to watch rock stars go through rehab, to tune in to see who got caught, who got arrested, and who was humiliated produce gold ratings. People are entertained by the sins, sufferings, and shame of others.

There’s an Old Testament story that starts out like this:

“Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside” (Genesis 9:20-22).

When Noah’s son Ham discovered his father drunk, naked and passed out, he reveled in the sight. He went quickly to bring his brothers in on the joke. This could be the basis for an episode of reality TV—a crowd tuning in to see Noah’s humiliation.

“But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked” (Genesis 9:23).

Noah’s other sons, Shem and Japheth, wouldn’t take joy in their father’s shame.

Instead, they mirrored God (who had fashioned animal skins to cover Adam and Eve in their shame), by covering their father in his vulnerability. They averted their own eyes so their picture of their father wouldn’t be marred. They wanted to protect him from embarrassment.

They loved him. They covered him up. Love covers.

In the Old Testament we read: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12).

In the New Testament, Peter writes: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Love can cover the mistakes, misfortunes, the failures and even the folly of others. Like Shem and Japheth, our decision to love like this mirrors our God.

How different would reality look if we embodied this truth?

My prayer this week – Almighty God, I am thankful your love covers a multitude of my sins and shortcomings. As others struggle around me, would you help me to have a loving response? May my love for others mirror you!