Two things are compared in this verse in Proverbs. They are hatred and love. We see the emotions and choices of both of these things - and because Proverbs is all about wisdom, we also see what they eventually will yield. If you need a proverb that will aid you in having good relationships, this would be a great one to learn.
First we see hatred. The word used here is "sinah" and it means a strong feeling of hatred. It is used of hatred that one human feels toward another. This hatred can be so strong that it can lead to murder - but it doesn't always end this way. Usually the manifestation is that it leads to dissension and unrest between two people - and often a broken relationship. Hatred may begin as a feeling - but soon hatred will bring us to a choice. The choice that is illustrated here is that of strife. Where someone has hatred in their heart, strife and discord cannot be far behind. We can choose to deal with our hatred in a biblical fashion - which is what the second half of this proverb relates to us. But if we will not deal with our hatred biblically - then that hatred will result in strife. We are told that hatred "stirs up" strife. The concept here is that of arousing and awakening someone. It refers to an agitating action. Hatred is a motivator - and it wants to motivate someone and agitate them to where they start a fight. This can be verbal - or as we have seen in worst case scenarios - even physical to the point of death. That is why we must immediately respond to hate when it rises up within our hearts.
We might find it interesting that God wants us to hate sin and hate evil. These are things God does not want us to have decent relationships with in life. We are to hate these things - and allow that hatred to stir us to stiving with sin and godlessness until we reject and refuse them in our lives. But when hatred is felt toward "someone" we are walking in dangerous territory.
The second half of this proverb tells us that love covers all transgressions. The words used here are very expressive. The love that is mentioned here is the very love of a man for a woman or the love of God for His people. This kind of love is selfless, self-giving love. When we love like this - it covers all transgressions. The word "cover" is the Hebrew word "kasah" and it means to clothe or conceal something. This is not the "cover-up" that we refer to when speaking of illegal activity. It is the covering and concealing that happens when one thing covers another. This word was used to speak of what the water did to the Egyptians when God had the Red Sea cover them. It is also used metaphorically in the Scripture of something that covers the shame of the guilty. But in order to fully understand what is said here we need to combine all the words used. Love covers all transgression. Transgression speaks of rebellion against God and His Law. It speaks of rebellion of one individual against another.
Love chooses to cover over these times of rebellion. When we look at this whole proverb we see that the usual response to transgression and rebellion is hatred and the strife that results from it. But what God desires is for us to respond with love - so that relationships will be blessed - even when one party doesn't contribute or want peace.
The most awesome way we see this truth illustrated is by God Himself with sinful mankind. We have chosen rebellion and disobedience - even hatred of the things of God. Yet God in His love chooses not to judge us immediately. His love was manifest fully in Christ. He chose to love us - and God manifests His love in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This is love in its most glorious form. That love covers all transgressions - and makes it possible for grace to bring salvation to men. As we have reaped the glorious benefits of salvation from God's grace, may we also reap the blessings of donning His character in our response to slights of others. This is the way to redeem a relationship rather than let it take the fallen, natural course that is usually followed. What a wisdom is ours when we see a whole way of relating to one another in the cross. May God use it to bless you in your relationships in the weeks and months to come.