In Genesis 9, Noah and his family had just come through the flood. Verse 20 says, “And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.” In verse 21 it says that he was drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.
Verse 22 says, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.” Let’s read what happened next in verse 23. It says, “But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.”
Physically that is hard to do. They put conscious effort into their actions in order to honor their father. Ham dishonored him, and as a result his son Canaan was cursed. His actions were not hidden from his father. It doesn’t say specifically in Scripture, but the other two son’s actions were noted as well. You can read his blessings in verses 26-27.
The seed of resentment sprouts, grows, and produces the fruit of bitterness. Unconfessed sin leads to contentious conflicts in our relationships. A harping, bitter person is hard to live with. Here are some Scriptures that help us understand God’s way.
Proverbs 17:9 Amplified says, “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love; but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.” Harp means to tell someone constantly or repeatedly.
Disregard means to pay no attention to, ignore, or take no notice of. Disregard allows for no seed of resentment to be planted. I Peter 4:8 Amplified says, “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins (forgives and disregards the offenses of others).”
We have an excellent example from Shem and Japheth on how to cover the sin of another. We walk backwards without mentally scrutinizing their sinful actions. Our love for them is protective rather than exposing them through gossip.
When we ‘share’ our offense with someone else we sin against them. The Lord gives grace to us when we are emotionally hurt. Within that grace is the power to forgive. However, if we pass on our offense, the receiver does not have our same grace.