It seems that forgiveness and compassion have gone the way of corded phones and VHS tapes. They have been replaced by a desire to air out our dirty laundry in a forum of public opinion. Social media statuses are filled with needless “updates” about “some people” and their sins against us. Friends, let me be honest with you for a moment. Your vague references fool no one. It may feel therapeutic to be able to air out your feelings but in no way is right, good or kind; in fact it is downright un-Biblical.
Even when the subject matter is hidden behind ambiguous references of “some people” and “they” you are still sinning. Whether you sit in the beauty shop and tell all your friends “the situation” or announce it to the world: gossip is gossip is gossip. Our problems with one another should, in fact, remain exactly that way: solely with each other.
Jesus VERY specifically says: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” (Matthew 18:15 NASB) Did you see that part there that said, “in private“?
I’ve heard, and thought to myself, many reasons as to why one could not possibly go and speak to their offender one on one.
“They won’t listen anyway.”
“It wouldn’t make a difference.”
“I might do/say something that I’d regret.”
I think that if we are ALL honest with ourselves we’d admit that reasoning is probably more closely related to us wanting to avoid a face-to-face confrontation. It’s MUCH easier to sit bravely on the couch and update a tough sounding status than it is to call (or better yet sit down and talk to) a person that we are upset with. I get it, I really do! I
hate (this is the point that Hila Fay would say: “We don’t say ‘hate’ Mommy.”) really, really, REALLY dislike confrontation. I go out of my way to avoid unpleasant situations.
However, John is quick to remind us that if we are going to claim Christianity we best walk-the-walk! (“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth”. Revelation 3:16 HCSB) We cannot sugar-coat a sin (“I wasn’t gossiping I was just venting.”) and expect God to be pleased. Jesus very clearly tells us that the only time we are to involve anyone else in our quarrel is when our private conversation yielded no results.
But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you. (Matthew 18:16, 17 HCSB)
If we get to the end of the rope and extinguish all means of reconciliation then we are to simply ignore them. We go to bed each night knowing that we tried our dangest but in this case an amicable ending just wasn’t in God’s plan. We do NOT continually make random announcements or involve other people.
We DO continue to genuinely pray them.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44 HCSB)
God’s truth is sometimes hard to swallow, but that doesn’t change it. We can’t claim to be loving Christians if we are not willing to choose to love everyone.
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. (1 John 4:7-11 HCSB)