Confessing Other's Sins
"Therefore confess your sins [and faults] to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."1
Michael Josephson of Character Counts was addressing a group of journalists regarding journalistic ethics. He "posed the question, 'When is it proper for a journalist to report about the private life of a public official?'
"Jack Anderson, a well-known investigative columnist, replied: 'I don't think we should report on the private behavior of a politician unless it's relevant to his job.' Then he added, 'but we don't always follow our own tests.'
"I asked him to explain and he said: 'A few years ago, a woman came into my office and gave me an airtight affidavit that the mayor of Tucson had bit her on the thigh. Now, I didn't think this was too relevant to his job, but some stories are too good to pass up.'"2
In this political mayhem going on in the U.S. at this time, between competing politicians attacking each other, and considerable biased media, there are many times when I feel like throwing up. One wonders if there are any ethics.
I think there ought to be a strict rule that governs all media that says, "No politician or journalist (or anybody else) is allowed to confess anybody else's sins and failures publicly, before confessing his or her own publicly." Zero chance of this ever happening.
Sad to say, far too many of those who call ourselves Christians don't do too much better. We can be quick to confess others' sins while hiding our own. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other . . . not to confess others' sins to each other. There's another name for this. It's gossip. The Bible condemns it.
When it comes to Christian growth groups, rule number one is, "Confess nobody's sins but your own. Period." True, in life there are times when a leader's behavior needs to be confronted, but before we do it, let's make sure our own life is squeaky clean, that our own sins are confessed and resolved, and that our life is right with God.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the sin of gossip. Help me to see my own sins and faults, confess these to a trusted friend and to you, and with your help overcome these. And help me always to live and abide by Christian ethics. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 5:16 (NIV).
2. Josephson, Michael, Character Counts, 553.1, http://charactercounts.org/michael/the_nature_of_character/.