United Church of Christ

Multitude of Sins

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

How the subject came up I don't recall. We were sharing another breakfast of eggs, grits, bacon, biscuits, and gravy, the coda to a week filled with comfort food heavy as the humid Mississippi air.

Our time together had been rich, too. Sequestered from our real lives, infused with inspiration, united in a common task, all our needs supplied, we had fallen in love with one another. It was that Stockholm syndrome kind of love: born of an intense shared experience, our knowledge of each other only an inch wide but a mile deep.

Under different circumstances, our mutual affection might have been stymied by the details of personal preference and position—politics, theology, insufferable personality tics. But we had back-burnered all that to focus on a craft that required us to be both brave and vulnerable. Day by day, fondness grew alongside respect.

Then, on our last morning together, one of my colleagues shared a story that might have forever altered my perception of him. On a matter of great importance to me, he had taken a public stand I could neither understand nor abide.

In any other situation, I might have tried to tell him how I felt and where I stood. More  likely, I would have given him a piece my mind and then closed my heart, writing him off as one of "those people."

But I couldn't begin to do that. Why? Because I already loved him. Because I knew well his integrity and held dear his humanity. Because I already loved him, I couldn't go all judge-y on him.

Why? Because love covers a multitude of sins—not his, but mine; not someone else's, but ours.


Great Merciful God, cover my sins with your love, that I might be changed.

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About the Author
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.

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