Blowing Another's Cover

“Do you know what I heard about Jim?”
“No, what about Jim?”
“Well I heard that Sam saw Jim going into a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous Tuesday evening.”
“Jim, an alcoholic? Why, he shouldn’t be an usher at church, should he?”
And so the conversation continued for several minutes. It was repeated among numerous other Christians.
Did anyone bother to speak with Jim about his attendance at the AA meeting? Did he ever have a chance to explain that he had been sober for eight years, the same length of time he had been a Christian? Would the gossipmongers have cared about the facts?
Every Christian has sin in his or her background. Sometimes that sin is looked upon by society as especially shameful. But should it matter if the sin has been put away as the Lord commands? Are we more interested in the welfare of our brethren or in the juiciness of our stories?
One trait of love, according to Paul, is that it “bears all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7, NKJV). The Greek word from which “bears” is translated is “stego”. Literally it means that which supports something else. The word is also found in Mark 2:4. Mark reported that the friends of the paralytic “uncovered the roof” of the house where Jesus was teaching so they could let their friend down into his presence. By uncovering the roof, they exposed what was inside. When love fails to bear all things, people can see inside the life of another. They see things they perhaps don’t need to see.
Don’t misunderstand: The Bible does not tell us to ignore the sins of others. Christians have an obligation to confront with love those who are guilty of sins. But when God’s prescribed actions have been taken, our involvement is to be encouraging, edifying. We are to guard the dignity and the privacy of our brethren as they try to overcome troubling temptations.
Consider also the example of Joseph, the husband-to-be of Mary. When he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy, he concluded what anyone might have: that Mary was guilty of sin. Matthew tells us what was in Joseph’s mind before he learned the truth about her condition: “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly” (Matthew 1:19). Why didn’t Joseph want to publicize what he considered to be a sinful act? Because he was a “just” man. Those who live by God’s standards don’t revel in scandal. They’re more interested in helping sinners come out of their sin, and they know that privacy is usually the best course to follow.
Love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). Before getting involved in what we perceive to be another’s error, we must consider ourselves lest we also are tempted (Galatians 6:1).

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Tim Hall

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One thought on “Blowing Another's Cover

  1. Tim, such a needed thought! We must continually go back to the Word to understand that our job is not to stand in judgment but to love one another. How many tender hearts have been broken by our carelessness? May it never be again!

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