Let’s stop making excuses for each other.
I am referring to how Christians sometimes relate to each other in regards to those often unintentional and little sins that hurt feelings. The excuses seem reasonable. “They have a lot going on in their life right now.” “But, they have a good heart.” “You know that they didn’t mean anything by it.”
As Christians, we often equate forgiveness with a do-over, where we just move on and forget the ugliness. And, yes, there are those times where we simply let love cover over a multitude of sins. But there are also many times when God intends a lesson for us as a family of believers by owning up to the ugliness.
I lost my best friend through a missed opportunity and a lesson left unsaid. I made a comment that upset my friend. We had been friends for years and shared our deepest thoughts as we navigated the parenting of teenagers. I was clueless to the effect of my words, but she wasn’t. And yet, she said nothing to me. By the time I figured it out, there was a palpable difference in our relationship. I verbally apologized. I formally apologized with a handwritten card, but it was all to no avail.
Years later, that loss of friendship is still one of my bigger regrets and one of the most important lessons that I learned. The comment I made reflected an attitude of sin that needed to be dealt with at the time the words rolled off my tongue. I wish my friend would have found the boldness to correct me. I would have learned the lesson much sooner. I would have matured in my faith more gracefully without the collateral damage. And I’m sure we would still be friends today.
Sin is always sin, whether it is accidental or minor in the big picture of the fallen world. Sin of any magnitude can have lasting ramifications. Let’s stop making excuses for one another. Instead, in Christ’s love, let’s spur each other on to the next level of mature faith by calling any type of sin what it really is: ugly and hurtful.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.