Question: When you see a wrong, how do you respond? Do you say something, do something to right the wrong? Or do you maintain status quo, and/or mind your own business?
It depends. Whenever I see people not queuing properly, my conscience urged me to point out the wrong. Dito ang queue. Nauna ako. There’s the end of the line.
When friends share with me their struggles or candidly tell of their stories, I sometimes need to control myself from speaking out and remind myself not to judge even when instinctively I think something’s not right. I confess that it can be tricky – when to right a wrong or point out a mistake; when to speak the truth or when to stay silent. It takes both discernment and courage to make the right choice.
To judge or not to judge? In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul wrote an important principle:
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
The background on this teaching was that there was someone sleeping with his father’s wife in the church. Paul rebuked them for condoning immorality in the church. (vv.1-2)
Paul’s response: He condemned the sinner for his adultery. (vv. 3-5)
Paul taught a parable on the leaven and unleavened dough. (vv. 6-8) Leaven is a substance like the yeast that makes the dough rise. As a verb, it is to cause (dough or bread) to ferment and rise by adding leaven. “leavened breads are forbidden during Passover” Paul pointed out the importance not to let sin influence the whole church. Instead, the sinner should be reprimanded and taken out.
Do we associate with immoral people or not? No and yes. Read vv. 9-11.
When Paul said not to associate with immoral people, he did not mean sinful people of the world. Why? Because that is not possible – because to do so, one has to be a hermit. v.10
But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. v.11
When we maintain status quo, when we turn a blind eye to sin, when we do not speak the truth and point out the wrong, when we continue to befriend a sinner, we are allowing the person to continue in his sin.
To ponder: Why am I keeping quiet? Is it time to speak the truth? What are the consequences of my silence? Is my indifference and apathy a cause for others to continue in sin? How does it affect fellow believers when I keep quiet?