Should We Put Someone Else’s Sin on Parade?

Within the last few weeks, a high profile denominational leader resigned his position and went into early retirement due to what he referred to as a personal indiscretion. Other leaders within his denomination are calling for him to go into greater detail and are criticizing him for referring to it as an indiscretion rather than using a Bible word such as sin, iniquity, abomination, or furthermore defining such a thing as adultery, bestiality, or whatever he may have done. The question of the day is, “Why do they want so much detail to become public knowledge?”

Here are some questions I have:

  • Have they considered this man may genuinely be broken over his sin and repentant?
  • Is it really necessary to put him and his family through more humiliation than they are already experiencing?
  • Do they really have his restoration at heart, or do they just want some really juicy gossip they can sling around in the pulpit and other denominational meetings?
  • What, if any, sins need to be made public knowledge? Especially so public as to be all over social media, the news, and any other public material?
  • If sin should be public knowledge, should this not apply to everyone instead of public religious figures, politicians, etc.?

Let’s see what Scripture says:

“Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.” Ephesians‬ ‭5:10-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Now let us take this apart.

This passage tells us to first carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Then it says for us to not take part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness but rather expose them. Expose what? The people or the deeds? The Scripture says to expose the deeds. Then it says, “It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.” So we should boast in the wrongdoings of others? WRONG! It is shameful for us to talk about what they do.

So we go back to the title of this post. Should we put the sins of someone else on parade? Absolutely not! Should we put our own sin on parade? Once again, NO! We should pray, and we should seek to restore. If someone is broken over sin, please have enough respect for that person and the family to keep the subject out of the gossip circle. They are hurting enough without anyone else adding unnecessary pain to it.

12 thoughts on “Should We Put Someone Else’s Sin on Parade?

  1. People conveniently forget the speck and plank in one’s eye principle in these types of cases. When one is contrite, we should think of what Jesus’s response would be. I betcha he’d say “Go and sin no more”. If only we as Christians could share that level of compassion for the contrite one’s, the world would be a different place. Great post today. Blessings. – Sherline 😊

  2. Well…..yeah. Just a small thing. I think of those of us in leadership in a local church have publicly sinned or in a way that has clearly harmed the local body….that a public repentance might very well be in order.Much of it depends on the nature of what occurred. I absolutely agree the he likely owes nothing to anybody in the denomination, as his responsibility and accountability is only to God and his local church.

  3. Your questions are so valid. They hypocrisy of demanding more details on someone’s downfall are incredible. It is almost like exhibitionism! We want to hear the gory details because it makes us feel better about what we may have done wrong. It kind of justifies our sinful ways. If any one of these who are demanding more information are without sin, let them say so and become a liar right away!

    1. Although I resigned my first pastorate due to problems within the church and home problems, I was at such an emotionally fragile state and did not divulge details. When the details were spread through Facebook private messaging, some church members wondered why I didn’t share and some got in their last jabs. It was very painful. Such situations make us much more compassionate because none of us should delight in the downfall of another.

      1. That had to be hard. I had a big problem years ago that caused a company I worked for for 20 years to let me go on the spot. Word never got out what I had done though, and I am glad. had it, I would have been ruined for years to come. As it is. we had to switch churches and were welcomed with open arms back in a church we had attended earlier in our marriage. God has a way of making things work out, that;s for sure

  4. This is a difficult issue, Matthew. I really like Wally’s answer above. That’s sensible.

    I think as individuals we should never be sniping, mocking, or taking to social media to gossip, gloat or whatever. But when you are a church leader, your sin is on parade whether you like it or not. Leaders don’t sin alone, they impact everyone else around them. The church as a whole has an unfortunate history of hypocrisy and covering up sin. Many people have been harmed by these kinds of toxic secrets. Child sexual abuse is a good example.

    We’ve also created this environment where Christians are perceived as perfect and it drives others away, some who think all Christians are hypocrites and some who think they can’t be Christians because they sin. If we were all actually confessing to each other as we’re supposed to be, we’d see that we are not alone,that we all share something in common.

  5. Good post, good questions. I don’t think people’s sin should be publicly displayed all over the media (which would be the logical conclusion if it was a public figure that had sinned) nor do I think someone should be made to go up in front of the church and make a public confession of their sin if it hasn’t affected the church as a whole. Why shame someone further for something they’re already contrite about?
    When my daughter got pregnant in her senior year of high school, our whole family was thrown into turmoil. My husband, who probably had the hardest time with it, went to a Christian counselor for advice. He told my husband that we needed to go up in front of the church as a family and she needed to confess her sins to everyone! I couldn’t believe it! Here this whole incident was tearing our family apart and he wanted to heap more shame and humiliation on us. We went to our pastor and told him what we were told to do, but he assured us that wasn’t necessary. Thank God!

    1. I have encountered pastors who believe like this counselor. If people feel like they need to personally apologize to a crowd of whatever sort, that is one thing. However, they should not magnify the sin by going into great detail. It is odd though how these pastors and others who think a young lady who has gotten pregnant or the family needs to stand before the church, but what about the boy? Better yet, what about every single person who had sex outside of marriage, had a lustful thought, has hatred in his or her heart, etc.? It is crazy how people pick and choose. I doubt they would want to be the one having to get up in front of everyone.

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