Within the past few weeks, there has come word to Jerry and me of inappropriate behavior of one of our friends–not a really close friend, but one we have known for many years. The alleged action of this person is so far out of character for him, that as we discussed it and surrounding issues yesterday, I said to Jerry, “I don’t believe it.”
It was in recent years that I became aware of this scripture, and immediately on reading those words, they struck a chord inside me.
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” Proverbs 17:9
Whoa! You mean if I hear of someone doing wrong, I should not talk about it? Are you sure? Shouldn’t I let people know what is going on. No, we shouldn’t, and yes, I’m sure.
Should you persist with: But, we don’t want sin in our church, and God hates sin, and I’ll just tell a couple of my friends so we can pray about it. That’s it, I need to spread around the word so we can take the matter to God in prayer. We should not do that, and yes, I’m sure.
A couple of reasons to closely follow these enlightening words lie here:
1. The story as it has been told is most likely not true in every aspect.
2. It’s probably none of my business, and my knowing or not knowing will likely not make a significant difference in the outcome.
3. If it is true, the person at fault may see the error of his way, and correct the situation.
4. You can’t “unring a bell.” When a negative thought or idea of someone is put in my mind, to one extent or another, that thought is always there. That certainly isn’t fair, for it may turn out to be a false accusation.
Now, having said that, it’s important to read another scripture. It’s down just a ways, verse 15.
” He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”
So, yes, the time may come when wickedness is revealed, and it’s at that point that God warns…don’t pat that person on the head, don’t justify or excuse them. For such mindset is an abomination to the LORD.
Admitted too, is that there are times, when, depending on the nature of the situation, and my relationship with the accused or with the issue that it is appropriate–even necessary–to discuss the matter. Let me always guard my spirit, though. Let me grieve over the misstep of the fallen, and may there never be found an inkling of “well, she’s been warned before, he deserved it, or told you so.”
Help me God. Perfect in me the spirit of shielding–of hiding–of covering–the transgressions of those who today may be faced with great struggle in their walk with Humanity and with You.