In one of the small towns in which we resided, the city ordinances still allow for the burning of leaves, as long as the forecast calls for low or light wind conditions. I was burning some leaves one fall day at about dusk when I had to go in the house for something. When I returned to my chore, dark was rapidly approaching, so I sped up my efforts to get it done. As I stirred the embers and added leaves, the wind suddenly picked up. Before I knew it, my small fire had become a huge flaming pile, the heat of which prevented me from coming close enough to control it properly. My haste nearly caused a disaster.
Hatred acts like that. Careless, hurtful words, thrown onto an already combustible situation, and fanned by the winds of discontent, can rapidly become an uncontrollable flame of false accusations, irretrievably hurt feelings, and bitter raging. In the end, the damage is done, and there is little hope for reconciliation.
When we speak of loving wholeheartedly, we need to address the backbone of “bearing all things”—forgiveness. In today’s scripture, we find that the culprit responsible for stirring up trouble—hate, is in direct contrast to that which produces forgiveness—love.
Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offenses (Proverbs 10:12, GNT).
We’ve all known them: the people that just cannot leave a situation alone. They constantly stir the embers of a dying problem, until they’ve fanned it to flame again. It’s over. The injured parties have apologized, forgiven, and moved on.
But, there are those for whom forgiveness isn’t an option. Why? Because hate is at the core of their dissent. Does that sound harsh? It’s true, though. Today’s scripture lets us know the cause of stirred-up trouble is hate (hatred).
Only wholehearted—total, complete, indivisible love can forgive offenses. All offenses.
Burying all things using love as the shovel is often the best way of “bearing all things.”
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