He who keeps a sin covered is looking for love; but he who keeps on talking of a thing makes division between friends.
~ Pr 17:9 (BBE)
It is fascinating today to witness two very different ways of dealing with the sins of others. I received an email apology today, which took me by surprise. Perhaps more people should be endeavoring to fix what relationships they can before Passover, as the world is filled with broken relationships. However, it seems that there are yet others who would prefer to further break relationships and get a joy and a thrill from gossip, slander and digging up dirt (real and imagined) on others, but claim it is in the name of preparing for Passover.
Passover should be a time of examining the beam in our own eyes, yet this is precisely the time that some are instead claiming to be preparing for it by justifying their own evil, which they are placing out in an open display and calling it a righteous act.
So, is it true that you must uncover another’s sins for all to see in the name of love? What does Proverbs 17 say again?
9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:
~ Pr 25:9
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Again, it is love, charity in the KJV, agapeo, that covers the sins.
That does not mean allowing the sin to continue, of course.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Excuse me, but where does this verse say to proclaim another’s sins openly? Does it say to spread gossip, whether true or false?
What were Christ’s own instructions? Wasn’t it to go to your brother? Why? To talk it over privately, or to take a crowd and stone him?
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Verse 15 in Matthew 18 is what James above was referring to! In private! Moreover, only if the brother does not listen should one involve others.
The Church is specifically here given authority to judge between brothers. It is the Church’s responsibility to correct sins.
Gossip, spreading tales about others, is a sin.
16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.
God lists several sins against Israel, for which He sent “a people from the north country” against them. They didn’t even have to be slanderers to be punished, just walk with them!
26 O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.
27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.
28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.
29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.
30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.
Trust is the glue that holds relationships together. They cannot survive a lack of trust. Gossip destroys trust.
3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.
4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.
5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.
Gossip is the sign of a reprobate mind, to which God gives people over for destruction.
28 And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong. 29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know full well God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.