Posts Tagged ‘intercessory prayer’

What sins DOES Love cover a multitude of?

How many of you have wrestled with what Peter means when he says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) or when John tells disciples who see a brother or sister sin a “sin not unto death” to pray for that person in order for that sin to be forgiven? (1 John 5:16)

Consider this, as well: How many times would God only hear and forgive persons when someone specifically chosen by God interceded for them? I can think of Abraham praying for Abimelech (even though Abraham had effectively caused the sin), Moses for Israel, Job for his friends, and so on. God would only hear the prayers of a righteous man in these instances. As a result, I have become inclined to think that the blind man Jesus healed was correct in his supposition that, “We know God does not hear sinners.” (John 9:31)

Of course, if a person is penitent, like the tax collector Jesus used for an example (Luke 18:13) or a man seeking God, as Cornelius was, then God’s promise is true: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

Anyway, all hat to try and unravel this particular knot of what kind of sins does our love cover and what are these sins we are to pray for for the sake of others? It appears, to me, that these must be sins of ignorance on the part of the offender. In other words, we may feel and know that what a person has done is an offense to us, someone else or God, but since we are also to bear with the weak in faith, the weak minded, and new Christians, doesn’t this indicate that it is far better for us to overlook certain things than to condemn them at first sight? Now, remember, I am approaching this from the view of these being sins of ignorance (call them tactless sins, maybe).

I may not approve of the TV shows a new Christian watches. Am I to condemn these shows outright and make the new Christian feel that they are thereby in danger of damnation? I don’t think so. I believe that what we are supposed to do (and it has taken me quite a while to reach this conclusion) is bear with this for a time, for a season in which we bring our concerns to God and ask the Holy Spirit to convict these new babes of what is not pleasing to God and convince them of what they should do. After this season of faithful prayer and consistent right living on our part, we should not be surprised to see changes in this person’s life in the areas we are concerned about. On the other hand, if no changes become evident, then we might want to consider another approach.

Here is an example of what I am speaking of. Any input or advice is much appreciated, as I have not completely satisfied myself as to how to answer this, but here goes:

I have an acquaintance who has, for over two years, claimed to be a believer, and with whom I have been a confidant of sorts concerning her marriage. She has a lot of issues that we have discussed and some of my scriptural advice she seems to have taken to heart. On the other hand, though I have been adamant about what I believe the Lord says are very limited reasons for divorce and remarriage, these things she has been resistant to. Number one, her first husband has never been sexually unfaithful to her, and as far as I can tell, she doesn’t admit to having cheated on him. As a result I have simply directed her to Paul’s admonitions in 1 Corinthians 7 and Romans 7:1-3.
Another issue was baptism. I explained the necessity of it, gave her literature about it, and she even attends a church which supposedly teaches it as a necessary response to the gospel. However, to the best of my knowledge, she has never followed through on this.
So, just this past week I received an email from her letting me know that she is now married to the man she was seeing for the last six months. I was never informed of any divorce, so this was quite a surprise. On top of this, she seemed quite pleased to inform me that her first husband actually Emceed the wedding, providing the music and that her own daughter ..by this first husband.. walked her down the aisle.
My reaction? I was disgusted. Primarily because she felt that having her first husband there condoning it, and her daughter “giving her away” made everything just fine. To me…it was just typical American dys-functionality on parade and she doesn’t even realize it as such.
Based on my own prayers concerning this and the fact that she has been previously advised by me to not follow this path, I don’t believe I need to swoosh down on her and overtly rebuke her. She knows what she is doing is wrong. She just simply has chosen to reject God’s advice and take her own path.

So, as regards my earlier quandary, does this situation even apply to Peter and James’ admonitions? I don’t believe so, because this IS a sin unto death, in my view. This person has rejected the Word of God, knowingly or even willfully ignorantly, and I don’t know that my prayers can now afford her any protection or forgiveness.

Any thoughts?

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