And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
Proverbs 10:12 (NKJV)
On Valentine's Day, we think of love--especially romantic love. We remember our spouses or possible spouses with gifts.
Throughout scripture, God compares His love for His people, the church, to a wedding: 'Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready' (Revelation 19:7).
'For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth' (Isaiah 54:5), 'And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you' (Isaiah 62:5).
A bridegroom's love is a fierce passion, and God's love for us is the most powerful force in the universe. It defeated Satan. It covers sin. It never fails.
But where is love in a passionless marriage? Or a marriage that begs for divorce? What if a spouse acts in disregard or even hate? What if one who believes struggles with the other who does not?
My coming to Christ coincided with the breaking of a long and strife-filled marriage. Was divorce my good answer? Although my former husband is happily remarried and we are friends, I would now say 'No.' Yet our loving God works all things for good (see Romans 8:28). Even this.
But I spoke just yesterday with a dear believer, a mother of four. She wed in trust that her betrothed was a Christian--to discover he was not. She suffered years of conflict until her husband had a real 'come to Jesus' meeting. He is now in his last year of seminary. A miracle.
'Even if some do not obey the Word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives' (1 Peter 3:1). A victory.
Therefore, I encourage all believers to love--even or especially in hateful situations; 'But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them' (Luke 6:32).
'But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you' (Luke 6:27).
God's words are always true. They do not bend for the situation; the situation bends for them. They carry the sure and certain power to transform.
Unrelenting love may provide the antidote--not only to save a marriage, but even to save a life.