The blog series for the month of September is called “Taking out the Trash”. Why? Because there’s a lot of things that culture has taught us and we as Christians have adopted these unbiblical things into our lives. One of these things is “Putting People on Blast”. A couple weeks ago I posted a blog called Take the Plank Out that explores the necessity for us as believers to be loving, fair, and not quick to harsh and rash judgements. Essentially, we should never judge someone by a standard that we ourselves would not be willing to be judged by. Scripture tells us in Galatians 6:1,
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
This scripture reminds us of a couple things:
1. That we should help restore brothers and sisters overtaken in sin.
2. That we should do it in a spirit of gentleness and not one of harsh judgement
3. But that we also have to keep a close eye on ourselves during this process cause sometimes in the process of trying to help someone, you can get sucked into sin with them.
Publicly exposing people is often not reflective of gentleness. Gentleness should also not be confused for passive permission either. Restoration doesn’t mean that I just stand by and continue to watch someone hurt themselves and make excuses for them. Have you ever taken care of a baby that insisted that they wanted to do something dangerous, like stick their hand in a socket or swallow something inedible? I don’t beat them or hurt them so that they won’t hurt others. Nor, do I tell them, since it makes you happy, "then sure, eat those dimes and pennies, or here’s a fork to stick in the socket while you’re at it". No, I do my best to keep them safe, gently, but firmly. I’m not referencing something as serious as newspapers exposing Jeffrey Epstein so that sexual exploitation and rape of young girls could be stopped. That is justice. That is right. However, what I am referencing is believers being upset with one another over issues that can be resolved privately and maturely.
Most of the times when people are eager to expose others publicly, they do so in a spirit of retaliation. It’s an outpouring of a heart that is showing disgust, or its cousin, hate. This can look like intentionally spreading news of what someone has done, posting screenshots of private messages, or even dedicating a whole IG or social media page to expose someone or critique them.
Christ should always be our model. How did Christ treat the woman caught in the act of adultery?
Three things can be remembered from that story:
1. The accuser is equally as guilty as a fellow sinner in need of God’s grace, with no right to condemn others.
2. Mercy is the more significant spiritual principle in this story.
3. Jesus instructed her to go and sin no more (he didn’t excuse this woman’s sin).
When you always keep in mind that you are a sinner in need of Grace, when you keep in mind that you were once that woman begging for God’s mercy, it is only natural to extend it to others, gently, privately, and publicly.