She sat in front of me in class. She came in crying and seemed distressed. I asked what was wrong and she unloaded a story of love and hate, good and bad, about her boyfriend. She said she was tired of how he treated her. I told her she was worth more and deserved better. People behind me asked what was happening and I said she was having a bad day. I could have gone into detail and spread the story of her situation. I could have said what she was going to do next. However, it was not my story to tell. I covered her by simply saying she was having a bad day.
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 ESV)
Love seeks the best for others. I find myself covering for other people out of a sense of protection and love. I can often overlook issues with friends or staff members because I want the best for them. People come to me with stories and information that I often keep to myself. What good would it do to put it out into the public forum? Instead of humiliating them in public, I will address the issue personally. Whether it is a teachable moment or disciplinary one it is done privately in order to seek love.
Love doesn’t tell other people’s stories. Over the years, much information has come to me. Sometimes it is a juicy story full of intrigue, interest, and impact. It would be easy to run it through social media. It would be popular to tell everybody. However, it is not my story to tell. Stay out of the “he said, she said” game. Other stories I hear are ones of joy. I remember years ago someone told me they were going to have a baby. I was so excited for them. When someone asked me what was up it them it was very difficult to keep quiet! Even when it is good news, only tell your story and not someone else’s.
Love doesn’t lie for others. How often have we had people ask us to “cover” for them by telling a lie? They want to avoid trouble with parents or bosses and need you to “help” them. What do we do? First, a good friend will not ask you to do this. This is important. Your close friends are to be those also growing and developing in Christ. Second, love does not lie. If you find yourself in this spot with a close friend, you must judge whether what is happening is harmful or not. However, if you are asked a specific question you are not to lie. Covering an offense is not lying for them. Covering is more about forgiving them and giving second or third chances.
When it comes to our speech let us remember what every witness repeats before taking the stand. Each one promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Outside of the courtroom I would add one small phrase “as longs as it is your truth to tell.” Whose story have you told?