When Other People Fail

Last week I wrote about my reactions when I hear that a member of the Christian community sin has become public. This week I am processing how a Christian should react when a non-Christian (or at least not publicly) fails.

How does a Christian respond when we hear about the sins and failures of other people who do not claim to follow Jesus?

1. Sadness. All sin is outside the will of God. It breaks Gods heart and put Jesus on the cross. I find no joy in the failure of anyone even if I disagree with that person’s views or lifestyle. Personally, I think it is wrong to find humor or joy in any form of sin.

2. Prayer. I really do ask God to break into that person’s life and show them the love of Jesus in some way. What would happen if every Christian asked God to do amazing work in the life of the person who failed?

3.Quietness. I refuse to share any articles, posts or gossip regarding anyone about sin. First, I do not know the true story and usually very few people do know the truth. Second, what if I share something that is wrong and hurtful and the story I shared is false? Finally, those two reasons are why the believers in the New Testament are told not to gossip and following Jesus requires me to remain silent.

4. Labels. I will refuse to label that person or anyone like them. Jesus did not see a tax collector who worked for Rome and was a crook. He saw Levi. He was a person created in the image of God whom Jesus came to redeem. He did not see prostitutes and sinners; he saw individuals in need of grace.

5. Speak. Speak the truth. I do not speak about the situation itself (see #3), but rather I use this as an opportunity to explain why we all need Jesus. We are all seeking to fill a void in our hearts that only Jesus can fill. The reason they committed this sin is that they were searching for fulfillment in ungodly ways. Now more than ever they need the grace and mercy of God combined with the love and compassion of his followers.

I get a little angry (and sad) when I scroll through social media and see what some people say and share about current news stories involving sin. One difference seen in being a follower of Jesus is that we meet sin in a constructive way rather than destructive. Where sin abounds, grace should abound all the more.

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