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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Friday, May 28

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.
—1 Peter 4:8

The ancient desert fathers and mothers would admit sins they had not committed for the sake of covering the sins of another. Love as selfless as this is difficult to comprehend. Perhaps the Russian saint Seraphim of Sarov had it right when he noted that we make much of the sins of others because we cannot bear to look at our own.

When we are unafraid to pull back the curtain of our own failings, stare them in the face, and acknowledge the reality that we are not as perfect as we would like to be, we might find ourselves moving closer to the depth of love that covers the sins of others.

Those holy desert fathers and mothers stayed in their cells and were ruthless about acknowledging the truth of their own imperfection. But the difference between them and us is that they did not allow discouragement and shame to overtake them. 

While they meditated on their own sins, they also meditated on the uncompromising and certain love and forgiveness of God. They knew their warts, but they knew those warts were covered by God's forgiveness.

We have all sinned, and we will all sin in the future, but the heart of heaven has spread a blanket of mercy over us so that the failures that seem so horrific in ours and others lives can be forgiven and redeemed. This is the love that covers the multitude of our sins—this is the love that we can use to cover the sins of others.

O God, when I stare at the reality of who I am, let my shame be covered by your merciful love.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.