“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Proverb 17:9
At what point does a prayer request, a request for a genuine hurt or need, become gossip or slander?
At what point do my righteous acts become pride and self righteousness?
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin”. – Romans 3:9-20
How did Jesus treat sinners? Did He call them out publicly or confront them personally and in private? Or was Jesus public confrontation reserved for the self righteous religious person?
Am I more likely to restore a relationship after an offense if I’ve maintained and protected their privacy or if I shared the offense with others?
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” – James 3:17-18
Is my goal to humiliate because I’ve been hurt?
Have I ever committed sins, which I later regretted and repented from? How would I have been effected if those sins had been made widely known?
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” – James 3:5
Do I forget that there is no good thing in me that caused or motivated God to save me? That it is by His power alone that I stand? That the scripture verse “There is no one righteous, no not one!” includes me…I am not righteous! I can stand before the throne of God only because of Jesus sacrifice and His cleansing blood making me pure. I am a sinner saved by grace alone, by faith alone. And God gave me the faith to boot. I am clothed in Jesus righteousness, not my own.
Am I mindful that there was a day when I too was lost in my sin? I have no place for bragging or being prideful that I am not engaging in sin like they are. That it is purely by the grace of God, His power at work in me that keeps me from living a sinful life style. Have I forgotten that? If so…I need to be careful, lest I fall!
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 1 Corinthians 10:12
Have I forgotten that God hates pride? That pride goes before a stumble? What seems like justification…may instead appear as prideful self righteousness.
“Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” – Romans 3:27-28
Do I see the sin…but fail to see the person?
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” – James 4:10-12
Do I care more about the offense than the fact that the person standing before me is lost in their sin and condemned to hell…for eternity? Eternity…not 10 years or 20 or 50 or life in prison…but their punishment will never, ever stop. The offense may seem unforgivable…but in actuality it may just be inexcusable. Why? Because Jesus died so that all our sins might be forgiven. He died for all…but not all will receive His sacrifice.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Do I care more about crying in my pain than crying out to my Lord Jesus….beseeching Him for His love, mercy and grace to be poured out in abundance upon this person who has wounded me or caused me great harm?
Am I willfully obtuse to the fact that my words have the ability to humiliate a person…and make known their transgressions?
Just as I can’t un-ring a bell…I can’t take back words that I’ve spoken or declared.
Do I take comfort in being the “victim”, the “one who was wronged” so I don’t have to look at and confront my actions which contributed to my situation?
Or do I feel like…while I may not be perfect and yes have even sinned…but what he is doing is much worse than me?
Am I loving? Do I love the unlovable…the sinner…the one who sins against me? Do I, in love, cover their sins rather than expose them?
Is my pride, arrogance and self righteousness an offense? An effective tool in the hands of Satan to keep the unbelievers in my life from coming to Christ?
Instead of asking “What would Jesus do?”, I would be better served to examine “What DID Jesus do?”…and go and do likewise.
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
“Forgiveness is the oil of relationships.” Chuck Obremski
Cover: to guard, protect, to hide from sight or knowledge, conceal a scandal, to conceal something illicit, blameworthy, or embarrassing from notice.