At the check-out line of any local grocery store, celebrity gossip is showcased on the cover of People and other like-minded tabloids. Some of the most watched television shows are full of “he said, she said.”
However, what I find most disturbing about this phenomenon is not what they are doing out there, but what we Christians are doing within the walls of the church.
Unfortunately, public shaming is not exclusive to the world; it is often tolerated in the church, and in some cases, it can lead to church divisions and splits. Major issues inside the church usually start with something as simple as a rumor or with slander.
The Ninth Commandment
The ninth commandment tells us not to lie. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). The Psalmist warns us with these words, “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy” (Ps. 101:5a). Slander is a sin according to God. He does not like us defaming other image-bearers whom he created and whom he sustains with life.
We should be more eager to cover up our neighbor’s blemishes than to publish their sins and faults to the rest of the world. The world does this in many different ways, but Christians are called to something much higher. God does not like gossip, even if it is tolerated in some of our churches as an acceptable sin. We should try to give our neighbors the best reputation possible, even if they are not worthy of it.
Why should Christians do this? Because God has given us the best reputation possible by swapping out our filthy rags for Jesus’s spotless robes of righteousness. Instead of looking at us as we really are and broadcasting this to the world, God in Jesus Christ has not only covered up our sins but has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. We are no longer viewed as we once were, but we are accepted as people who have no spots or blemishes.
Beyond this, Christians must be concerned about avoiding the sin of gossip because every human being is made in the image of God. When we tear down the name of another person—even a celebrity whose sins are “public,” a distinction often used to justify slander—we are ultimately making a mockery of God. He has made each one of his creatures, and by shaming others we are spitting on God.
This article was originally published by Nicholas Davis on Core Christianity and if you’d like to read the full article, you can click here!
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