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God commanded exposure of unrepentant abuse for the protection of society
Jesus forbade us to keep quiet about the evil unrepentant deeds of others, which have the potential of harming us and any of our ‘neighbors!’ Consequently, Prov. 16:30 warns, “He who shuts his eyes to do perverse things and compresses his lips, bring evil to pass.” God also commanded in Lev. 5:1-5, “If a person… is a witness, whether he has seen or known of the [serious unrepentant] matter, [which affects society, or the relevant members of society] – if he does not tell it, he bears guilt.” The Matthew Henry Commentary states, “If a person hears the voice of swearing, [crimen injuria,] if in such a case, for fear of offending one that is his friend, he refuses to give evidence [of the truth,] or gives it but in part, [or acts defensive,] he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which, if some course be not taken to get it solved, will sink a man to the lowest hell. Such a man is a partner with the sinner, and he ‘has not his own soul,” (Prov. 29:24.)
Such cowardice man-pleasers have become the slaves of their sinning friends, family, and spouses!
They have fallen into the pit of satanic control by becoming “friends of the world and enemies of God,” (Jam. 4:4!)
God forbade cliques, and the spreading of twisted and harmful truths
God commanded in Ex. 23:1-2, “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man, [just because he is poor,] in his dispute.”
This means, it is a sin to aid the distorted and false opinions of others, no matter who they are. Do not become truth-bending witches who influence others to join cliques; isolating the innocent, and spreading evil stories to aggravate the situation. Tell the truth of every situation as circumstances necessitate the truth; guided by the Moral Law of Agape and the Holy Spirit. Do not be partial, cruel, and unfair!
It is good to illustrate an impending danger by relying examples of your own or other people’s lives, which will not embarrass them unnecessarily. This is not maliciousness but ‘love,’ intended as instruction for the hearers. Still, nothing should ever be done in spitefulness to wound others. Paul said in Eph. 4:31, “Put all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking, [false reports, partiality, blackmail, extortion, and mobbing,] away from you, with all malice.”
¨ Even a thoughtless, true report, or a true report intended for malicious purposes, murders just as surely as lying slander! The following illustrates how the spiteful spreading of truths can harm the innocent involved. A ‘dear old saint’ prayed during a prayer meeting, “O Lord, we pray for Andy Joke... He started drinking again. He is beating Mary and the children are going hungry. Last week, in the cold, we had to collect clothes…” Even if these ‘facts’ about the Joke family could have been thoughtless blabber, uttered in public, (and most despicably, in prayer,) it did just as much damage to the innocent as the lies and distortions of crimen injuria would do; being unlawful, unethical, loveless truth. Surely, in an attempt to resolve the situation, Joke should first have been privately confronted according to Jesus’ commandments in Mt. 18:15-20, before another word about his sin could be uttered.
In any case, for the sake of Mary and the kids, secret charity and Godly agape should have “covered a multitude of sins.” Jesus warned in Mt. 12:35-36, “A tree is known by its fruit, for out of the good treasure of his heart a man brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle [or character assassinating] word men may speak; they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.”
When to “expose” sinners (Eph. 5:11) and when to let Godly “agape cover a multitude of sin”
The Holy Spirit will always apply the truth of His Word to the full context of the situation. For instance, it is necessary to expose unrelenting, unrepented sin, (such as false doctrine, bad affiliations, and other abuse,) which affect other people – sometimes for generations, (Eph. 5:11-12.) However, as seen under the previous heading in the example of the Joke family, when we abuse truth, it becomes a deadly weapon that wreaks havoc on the souls and lives of the innocent involved. So, the reason to expose sinners must never be unscriptural, uncontextual, payback/revenge, or spiteful underhandedness. Exposure must be for the benefit of everyone involved, abusers included. James 5:19-20 explains, “If anyone wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back [by speaking the truth of God’s Word and the situation in meekness, Eph. 4:15; Mt. 18:15-20,] he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and [thus, rather than exposing him,] cover a multitude of sins.”
We must always attempt to resolve serious sin committed between people between the two or whomever was sinned against by the same abuser, (Jam. 5:16; Mt. 18:15-20.) Yet, when public figures such as politicians, (minsters of the Gospel in particular,) are exposed for adultery and false teaching, they must confess their sin in public and ask forgiveness in public - and, as every other repentant sinner, do restitution during a trial period to prove they have really repented.
Paul commanded in 1 Tim. 5:20, “Rebuke those who are sinning [unrepentantly, and whose works affect the public,] in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.” Accordingly, he wrote in Gal. 2:11-21, “When Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed [for] fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter before them all..”
The sins of adultery and fornication are ‘prickly pears’ as far as ‘exposing sin’ is concerned. I know a man who murdered his wife when someone told him ‘confidentially’ that she was committing adultery, and he caught her in the act. The Holy Spirit will never expose adultery instead of following His directives in Mt. 18:15-20 to resolve the problem. Adultery and fornication instantly break the marriage covenant, (Mt. 19:9.) So, it cannot be hidden from the unsuspecting spouse. From the start, the sinner must be privately confronted with the trusting spouse present, because adultery and fornication involve them both. The adulterer can also be confronted first and given the opportunity to, without delay, fully confess the adultery to the spouse, but under no circumstances must the matter be discussed with outsiders before following Jesus’ commandments to resolve the situation, (Mt. 18:15-20.)
If the offended spouse chooses to forgive, he or she must be supported spiritually and emotionally, and the matter must be “covered by love” for the sake of the innocent involved, (1 Pt. 4:8.) After that, if someone spitefully chooses to expose this repented sin, the person must begin by first exposing his or her own forgiven sins.
Sadly, the innocent spouse is usually the last to know about adultery and fornication. Al those who participate in such slander and back-biting without involving the innocent spouse directly, are violating Jesus’ commandments in Mt. 18:15-20, and cruelly robbing the spouse of the opportunity to make decisions about the marriage and the future of the children born from the marriage.
It also frequently happens that the terrible abuse of adultery and/or child molestation remains hidden for nearly a lifetime until, at last, the unknowing spouse is confronted — while the abuser is still ignored. Such ‘do-gooders,’ the victims of molestation too, usually have been wrongfully accusing the unwary spouse all the time, and secretly slandering the name of the innocent spouse, avoiding their duty to confront the abuser and involve the spouse according to Mt. 18:15-20. Attacking the blameless spouse without timeously speaking up, cannot be the Voice of the Holy Spirit. It is more likely that this is the voice of guilt, jealousy, destruction, hated, malicious abuse, and vengeance.
Be careful of ‘confidants’ who gossip and/or force the abused to expose their abusers
It is a fact that we must use “tough love” when dealing with abusers, but because they never function in a vacuum, we must be careful not to do more harm than good in the process. Even if troubles are real and serious, outsiders are not allowed to “take over” the lives of the abused, push them into decisions, and supposedly ‘expose’ sinners on their behalf, which merely turn these ‘helpers’ into narcissistic tattle-tales and trouble-makers, who cause disruption and enmity between people. Of course, serious matters that affect life and limb can never be ‘secrets’ or confidential matters. But even then, for the sake of the innocent involved, one must still deal discreetly with private and confidential problems. Logically, while the abused need to work through the pain, loss, humiliation, and confusion their abusers cause, they are not committing ‘slander’ if they choose to confide in fellow believers or friends, whom they believe, they can trust and rely on for emotional support. Confidants need to treat such ‘information’ with fidelity and assist the abused in a sympathetic and Godly manner.
¨ Still, abused people must be wary of ‘confidants.’ Proverbs 11:13, “A talebearer reveals [confidential matters.] But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals [private, confidential] matters [in Holy-Spirit leading,]” (Lev. 19:16.) E.g., If the father of a preacher was a child molester, it is ungodly and cruel to bring it up when dealing with the false dogmas of the preacher. We must play the proverbial ball not the man. God explained in Ezekiel 18:20, “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son… The wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Of course, if the preacher himself decides to testify how God protected and delivered him from his father’s abuse, that is testifying to the greatness and goodness of God with the motive to uplift and protect the body of Christ.
I know of narcissistic people who pretend to be confidants, but then cruelly violate the trust of the abused by gossiping and using confidential confessions to slander, alienate, and manipulate them. They even extort all kinds of selfish things from the abused to make them bow to their dictates. To gain even more power over the abused and to shame them into submission, some ‘confidants’ even threaten to ‘expose’ things, (which were completely beyond the control of the abused,) to their loved ones and society in general, and so, completely destroy them. What’s more, such sadistic ‘confidants’ always abuse Scripture uncontextually to force victims to expose their private matters in public; devastating also the innocents involved to cause even greater hurt and humiliation to the abused.
¨ It is immoral and unlawful before God and society to violate the trust of the abused or anyone else, and to supposedly ‘expose’ sin that does not affect other people, and which has been privately resolved between the abuser and the abused, according to Jesus’ disciplinary process in Mt. 18:15-10. In fact, if abusers were dealt with according to James 5:16, (between the abuser and the abused;) forgiveness was asked and given, and restitution was done by repentance, it would only be instigating mob-justice to take the matter any further, unless it can be turned into a testimony unto the goodness and omnipotence of the Lord Jesus Christ, to help people who suffer under the same circumstances.
¨ When the abused are threatened by such ruthless ‘confidants’ it is time to say, “It is also written, love will cover a multitude of sins,” which, exposed, can only needlessly hurt those who are innocently involved, (Col. 4:5.) Truth, even Scriptural truth, without Godly wisdom and the leading of the Holy-Spirit, is a most destructive force. Hence, James 3:17 teaches, “For where envy and self-seeking [narcissism] exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, [as it always speaks the truth in wisdom,] gentle, willing to yield, [not to cover sin when they must speak out against it, but to refrain from vengeance and control in precarious situations that affect the innocent,] full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy. The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, [truth and sincerity,] by those who make peace [according to the Moral Law.]”
1 Peter 4:7-8 also refer to such difficult situations, saying, “...Be serious and watchful in your prayers [that the devil does not deceive you by quoting Scriptures in an attempt to control and deceive, as he did with Jesus in the wilderness, instead of doing good through God’s Word.] And above all things have fervent [Godly, righteous, Holy Spirit led] agape (“love”) for one another, [even for our enemies and especially for the innocent that are affected by their sin;] for [wisdom in Christ that shows His] agape, will cover a multitude of [resolved, repented, and sensitive] sin, [which does not concern outsiders and church societies.]”