Recall that when admonishing his readers to “have intense love for one another,” Peter gave the reason why this is so important: “Because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) To ‘cover’ sins does not mean to ‘cover up’ serious sins. Such matters are rightly reported to and handled by responsible ones in the congregation. (Leviticus 5:1; Proverbs 29:24) It would be most unloving—and unscriptural—to allow gross sinners to continue hurting or victimizing innocent ones.—1 Corinthians 5:9-13.
In most cases, the mistakes and faults of fellow believers are minor in nature. We all stumble in word or deed at times, disappointing or even hurting one another. (James 3:2) Should we be quick to publicize the shortcomings of others? Such a course would only serve to create friction in the congregation. (Ephesians 4:1-3) If we are governed by love, we will not “give away a fault” of a fellow worshiper. (Psalm 50:20) Just as plaster and paint cover the imperfections of a wall, so love covers the imperfections of others.—Proverbs 17:9.