“Never Say Anything Critical of One of Your Own” — Wrong!
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” (John 6:70)
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,
In any human society there are certain unwritten codes binding upon the members of those societies. As long as those codes are moral and right, this principle is a good thing. But sometimes, even quite often, these codes serve as a covering for evil.
And so it is in many local churches today.
I propose that a very common code, often unspoken, among professing Christians is, “a Christian must never say anything critical about another Christian.” This law if you will is based upon the idea that if an individual claims to be a Christian, he is to be regarded as a Christian. And along with his profession of Christ comes this sort of “get out of jail free” card should he ever need to pull it out in a tight spot.
And so we have this code of silence. Here is this man abusing his wife and children. But he is a Christian, right? Therefore no one, including his victims, are to speak critically of him. They are to respect him. Submit to him. Go with the flow and take one on the chin for the team. If they ever do start to speak out about his evil, pressure is brought upon them right quickly. “It just is not right for you to speak of your husband like that.”
God has no such code of silence, and He certainly has not established one in His church either. Did the Old Testament prophets speak critically of “their own” fellow covenant people? Duh! Did Jesus speak critically of His “fellow” rabbis? Let’s see….yeah, I think I remember Him saying something about woe to you, and then there was that matter of the whip in the Temple. Paul and Peter and John and James and…well, pretty much all of the biblical authors nailed their “brothers” when necessary. And they often if not usually did it right in plain sight of others.
“John has been molesting his daughter.” “Shhhh! John is a brother in the Lord. We can handle this. No need to involve the police.”
“Jack is not the saint at home that he appears to be in the church. His wife says that he has been abusing her for years.” “We need to be very careful about saying such things. Those are very serious accusations and we are dealing with a brother in the Lord here you know.”
See how it works? Pretty much anyone who claims to be a Christian is “in.” And since the Bible says Christians are to love one another and speak well of one another and never gossip about one another, why, we are just going to see the best, think the best, and speak the best about… Judas?
I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. (3 John 1:9-10)