This week, I’ve been saddened as I watched my facebook newsfeed fill up with news about the latest Christian scandal. I’m embarrassed at some of the reactions I’ve seen from my brothers and sisters in Christ. It made me think of Harriett Oleson.
Harriett Oleson has always been bad, but in this season, she reaches a new level of just plain mean. We recently watched a new-to-us episode called The Cheaters. Alice Garvey has been the town’s school teacher and her son Andy isn’t doing very well.
Throughout the episode, we see Mrs. Oleson “tsk, tsk” and “Oh, you must be so embarrassed.” or say things like “I just knew something like this would happen.” Her words might say she’s sorry, but her tone and expressions show us that she’s anything but. She enjoys it. She relishes in the pain of others. She just can’t wait to spread the next bit of juicy gossip.
And, sadly, that’s what I’ve seen this week coming from Christians about this scandal. I’ve seen things like,
“Well, I always knew something like this would happen.”
“I never liked that family anyway.”
“They aren’t so high and mighty now are they? They deserved to be taken down a notch.”
“I always knew they couldn’t be as perfect as they seemed.”
In the midst of these haughty, Harriett Oleson type of responses, are the hateful, judgmental responses. Yes, this is a national scandal, but I’ve seen the attitude locally as well. We are so excited to share the latest news that we forget real people are involved. I’ve seen this both in celebrity situations and in everyday life.
We just love to watch each other fall. And we love to kick one another while they’re down.
So, I turned to my Bible, and the Lord brought to my mind a single verse that summed up some of the discomfort I’ve been feeling.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” -Romans 12:15
Weep with those who weep.
This is the heart of what bothers me. The Lord calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. So often our hearts are so filled with bitterness and jealousy that we do the opposite. We are saddened when we hear of a fellow Christian’s successes, and we stand around just waiting for them to fall so that we can rejoice in it and taunt them with it.
The Lord calls us to weep with those who weep.
If there is a family–local or celebrity that is going through a scandal or trial, there is a lot of pain! There is a hurting family getting dragged through the mud as we stand on our self-righteous podiums hurling stones. We should hurt for that family. Weep with them. Put down the stones and realize it’s not our place to throw them.
We should mourn with that family. Our hearts should be broken. And we should spend so much time praying for them that we don’t have time to talk about them.
I challenge you, the next time you are tempted to talk about a situation–pray about it instead. Get on your face before the Lord and plead with him for that situation.
I’m not talking about sweeping anything under the rug or acting like a wrong didn’t happen. This is not a matter of guilty or innocent. Some things absolutely should not happen. Actions have consequences and wrong needs to be called out in certain situations, in the right way. But I’m talking about searching our own hearts and being sure that we have an attitude that reflects God’s heart for His people.
Love does not rejoice in iniquity.