Proverbs 17: Covering Transgressions
Proverbs 17 presents what looks like a pretty major challenge to all of us. Think about a time that someone has hurt you in some way. It is certainly not a good time, and you probably did not feel very good about the whole situation. I know I have been there, and the first thing you want to do in these types of situations is to go and talk to someone else about it. You want to have someone to talk through it with and try to come to some understanding of whatever happened.
Pro 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
This is a difficult challenge. While I do think that it is helpful to talk to other people when we are having problems, this is definitely true advice. If I tell you negative things about a third person over and over again, it will certainly affect your relationship with that person as well.
This particular passage doesn’t delve into individual situations. For example, say someone came up and started beating me up. Maybe that is not the type of transaction I should be covering. Why am I making an exception? Well, if I love you, I would probably want to protect you from harm. Perhaps that is a situation where I need to seek love by protecting someone else from a “friend” that they might as well be separated from anyway.
However, rather than play with all of these exceptions, I think that we can understand what this verse is talking about. If someone has hurt us, we need to go to that person and make it right. It doesn’t help if we start repeating the story over and over again for anyone who will listen. All it does is create more attention when perhaps it needs to be an issue that could be resolved immediately. That is certainly more loving.