10:12 — Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
This is a terse and forceful statement. Hatred and love are contrasted. Hatred brings strife and estrangement. It never breeds good; it cannot produce concord. Kidner sees a contrast here between the troublemaker and peacemaker. Does the person’s life bring discord or concord?
Here is a challenge for each one of us. “What kind of relationships have I left behind me? Is there any concord or are they all discord? Do I cause strife or do I engender concord? Have I carped on every bad mistake? Have I ever covered over someone’s offenses?” Bridge puts it like this: “Like a subterraneous fire, it continually stirs up mischief, creates or keeps alive rankling coldness, disgusts, dislikes, … carps at the infirmities of others; aggravates the least slip (Isa. 29:21); or resents the most trifling, or even imaginary, provocation.” (Bridges) James indicates what causes strife among brothers (James 4:1ff.) A life of strife indicates that all is not well (James 3:16).
The assumption is that people will have infirmities, weaknesses, etc. How will we react to them? God despises those who cause discord among brothers (6:19). “Love covers, overlooks, speedily forgives and forgets.… What is our brother’s all against us, compared with our all against God?” (Bridges) Remember the words of the NT, “Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Col. 3:13) [cf. Jas 5:20, “…let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.”; 1Pe 4:8 “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”]
Rarely do men fault others for their generous love and hearty sympathies. This is not a call for setting aside discernment but surely we could all overlook more and earnestly seek to graciously deal with our brethren?