Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins. 1 Peter 4:8 When reading the Old Testament, I used to marvel at the way God talked about Israel and to Israel. When He talked to them, He scathingly pointed out their failures and meted out punishment. Yet when God talked about Israel, it was always as His special people. If they had failures, outsiders would not know it. It was a family matter. Love protects its own. It doesn't protect by denying shortcomings and failures. Love knows reality, but it doesn't nag. Mature lovers find ways of sheltering the other from criticsm and rejection. Wayne told me that after he had been married for four years, he had an affair. One night he was out with the other woman, a car hit them head-on, and the woman died hours later in the hospital. The incident happened in a moderate-sized town where Wayne held a responsible position. He called his wife, Janet, from the hospital, blurted out the whole story, and hung up before she could reply. He expected that when he eventually went home, Janet would be gone. Instead, she rushed to the hospital and sat in the waiting room with him. After the other woman's death and as the story circulated, Janet never criticized Wayne. From her lips, no one knew it had been an extramarital affair. By her constant presence at his side, no tongues wagged. Janet's love was strong enough to stand by her husband and protect him. Because of Janet's consistent love, she was able to get him to attend church with her, and eventually both of them committed themselves to Christ. That's the protecting love true lovers understand. They know that their love can overcome all obstacles. They remain steadfast in the midst of trials and even rejections. The covering of sins may not be this extreme. It doesn't matter what the failure, true love protects its own from criticism.