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Cover Your Neighbor

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.
-Galatians 6:2, NRSV

From the simple to the complex, there are so many ways that we can bear each other’s burdens. One of those ways is how we respond when someone commits a sin. 

When a neighbor or a loved one falls from grace, we have an opportunity to do several things. We can point at that person in mockery. We can avoid that person in shame. We can embarrass that person with gossip. We can also cover that person in prayer, love, grace, and mercy. The choice we make is always ours to make. 

We live in a world where exposure is part of the fabric of society. Social media makes it almost impossible to have a bad day in public without it being recorded and shared within seconds of the moment we slip. Our lives can be on display in an instant and we lose the chance to make corrections in private. As soon as we sin, before we can even confess our sins to God, someone has told the entire planet about it on some platform. Before God can answer our plea for mercy, we have been tried, convicted, and sentenced in the comment section of the social media post.

As believers, we can do better than this. We can offer something more than telling it all or commenting on all. We can do as we are instructed in Galatians 6:2 by carrying each other’s burden. In this way, we fulfill the law of Christ. That is the law of love. 

Covering each other is part of what Jesus was talking about when he reminded us to love our neighbor. We can’t love our neighbor if we are consumed with joining the chorus of exposure when our neighbor sins. We are to cover them instead. 

Besides, if cameras and smart devices followed each of us home, I wonder if we would survive our day in the court of online exposure. So, why not show grace for our neighbor. It’s the only neighborly thing to do.

Prompt for Thought: Think of a time when you did something wrong and were exposed. How did it feel? Think of a time when you did something wrong and were covered. How did it feel? How did God respond in both instances? Is there a neighbor (near or far) that you can share that same grace right now? How will you do it?

Prayer for the Journey: God, please forgive us for every sin we have committed (whether hidden or exposed). Please forgive us for the times we have exposed other’s sins or taken part in that exposure. Going forward, please convict us to prevent us from exposing each other and empower us to cover each other with love, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.