Love Covers all Offenses-
A young couple joined us for dinner this past New Year’s Eve. Everything was unplanned. The woman is a college student who grew up at the church where I pastor. The fellow is a guy whom she met in college. The young woman’s mother wanted me to meet the young man and perhaps give them some wisdom and advice on love.
My time with the young couple was delightful. We spoke casually with me trying not to get too deep into their business. One of my feelings about love, particularly young love is that love must be allowed a chance to grow. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, friends, foes and even pastors need to respect love and give relationships time and space to figure things out. With that thought in mind, I chose my words, questions and advice carefully.
I only scratched the surface with the young couple. More than anything, I wanted them to feel affirmed in love and to know that I respect their process of love as young, thinking and growing, young adults.
Perhaps down the road I will be given an opportunity to speak a little more deeply with the young pair. Within my 40th year of marriage, one thing I have learned is that the wisdom writer is correct, “Love covers all offenses.” In all of my time of dating and marriage, I honestly cannot think of any major offenses that have occurred, but there have been a few moments where I have made thoughtless, “Management decisions” without consulting Denise. For example, a couple of years ago, I instructed the landscaper to trim our five-foot hedges to about one foot high. The hedges in my opinion and his, were over grown and needed to be cut back. When Denise returned home she was devastated. I had no idea how attached she was to those overgrown, tired, starving hedges. Since my moment of independent decision making regarding the hedges I have eaten humble pie and promised to stay in my lane. On the other hand, Denise, perhaps has forgiven me for having the nerve to think for myself and act without telling her, but it has not torpedoed our relationship and marriage.
If the college students who now are in love are still in love down the road, if given an opportunity, I will tell them that love is patient and kind, not jealous or boastful, envious resentful or rude – that love bears all things and believes all things and that love never ends. (1 Cor. 13:4-). If we get a little deeper into the function of love, I will expound upon how love covers all offenses. But, for now, I will sit back, wait and see how their love grows.
Proverbs 10: 12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. 
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you define love?
- If you were telling a young couple what to look for in love, what would you tell them?
- How does love “Cover all offenses”?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to love. Grant me a love that covers all offenses. Show me how to love with a love that covers all offenses, yet at the same time grant me the courage to hold love accountable for words and deeds. Teach me to forgive. Teach me to be gracious and kind. Teach me to grow beyond disappointment, to live with abandon and joy, and to love without end. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Pr 10:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.