"I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother. You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship." 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NLT)
What a way to start devotionals for the school year; we read about a man who is having a sexual relationship with his stepmother. Hello! This man appears to attend church regularly and calls himself a Jesus Follower. On the flip side, the church seems to be taking more delight in gossiping about his sin instead of lovingly confronting him. Instead of hurting for him and over his actions, it is just easier to talk about him. It's just easier to whisper and laugh in the background while he engages in hurtful sexual behavior. It's just easier to gossip instead of show grace.
Isn't this what we do when we hear a crazy story about someone. We would rather talk about the absurdity of someone's actions instead of hurt and grieve for the suffering they will experience through those actions. Love and compassion are never present in our gossip and whispers. Love is present when we step up and lovingly talk to our brothers and sisters (those who claim to follow Jesus and sit with us in church) about their bad behavior. Our challenging them in love seeks to protect them, the church family they belong to, and the image of Jesus they profess.
Grace (approaching someone in love and not judgment, believing God can still work in their lives) jumps in to restore and rescue a person from sin while gossip seeks to report and repeat the person's sin over and over and from person to person. We are called to cover and protect people from sin and it's consequences.
1 Peter 4:8 says, "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."
This year look to cover the sins of others (by praying for and conversation with) instead of communicating (through gossip and judgment) the sins of others.
Lord Jesus, Forgive me when I don't hurt for the sins of others and would rather gossip about their sin instead of grieve over it. This upcoming school year, please give me Your heart, that Your grace may overflow in my life and be extended to those who need to know You. Amen