“Mom, he hit me!” “Dad, she’s doing it again!” Do these words sound familiar? Have you ever noticed how you don’t need to teach a child to be a tattletale? It just comes naturally!
Why is that? Is it because the child is looking out for the best interest of his/her siblings? When they come and tell you what the other is doing wrong, are they thinking that they want their siblings to learn the difference between right and wrong so that they can grow up to be upstanding citizens? Probably not. It’s more likely that in the past they got into trouble for doing something wrong, and if they got in trouble for it, then their siblings better not get away with it.
As adults are we really any different? Do we stop being tattletales, or does it just take on a different form? Maybe we don’t go running to mom or dad, but what do we do instead? We find a friend and say, “Did you hear about so and so? Did you hear what they did?”
Maybe you would call that gossiping rather than being a tattletale, but in either case, is this what God wants from his children?
Listen to what Jesus told us in Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
In a way, you could summarize Jesus’ words here by saying, “Don’t be a tattletale!” Don’t try to make yourself feel better by sharing the sins of another. Rather, show love to them by privately pointing out their sins. Why should we do this? It should not be to make them feel bad. Rather, we point out sins so that we can also share with them the reminder of the forgiveness that Jesus won for us by his death on the cross.
As Jesus teaches here, the only time to be telling others about someone’s sins is so that they can help you call the person to repentance and receive forgiveness through Jesus.
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