At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; And it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”Proverbs 19:11
One of the temptations that comes to upright people is the temptation to notice everything. Because such a person has high standards for himself, he notices when others fall short of the high standards. And from noticing to commenting is but a short step.
This is one of those places where it is necessary to repent of what we thought were our “virtues.” Too often a person with particular standards feels like he is compromising if he just “lets something go.”
But Scripture teaches us that there are many occasions where “letting it go” is the right thing to do. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). This is not something that can happen once in blue moon—if there is a multitude of sins, then the occasions for overlooking them will be a multitude of occasions. And the person who does this is described by Peter as one who has fervent love. This is not a compromising Christian, just the opposite.
This proverb tells us that overlooking a slight, or a wrong, or a transgression is not just okay. It is called a glory when a man of discretion does this. This means that when we really want to talk to someone about their faults, we are probably not in any spiritual shape to do so. And even if we manage to get through it without sinning, we are not taking the higher road, the road that Scripture here describes as glorious.
There are of course times when sin must be confronted. We are given instructions about church discipline for a reason. But it appears from the teaching of Scripture generally that the wise man is going to do a lot more covering than confronting. This is a lesson that goes down hard.
And incidentally (or not so incidentally), covering does not mean accumulating resentments. The covering erases the slights.