NOTE: Please also read my dad's post here.
I sit here today, grieving and praying earnestly. Not for myself, but for the people back home in Ohio.
For those who know what has been going on, this is a great shock and tragedy. It's something that I certainly didn't expect and I know that many others share this sentiment. It is truly, completely sad.
All that being said, I must also express that I have been thoroughly disappointed with the way that the situation has prompted gossip, speculation, and judgment. With dear friends closely involved, it hits close to home, and hurts them, which is completely needless considering the fact that they are already going through things that most spectators can't even begin to understand. The judgment involved saddens me. I logged on to Facebook this morning (the source of all evil) and read destructive and disparaging comments one after the other. Vague, yes, but clear enough so that people in-the-know could understand particularly to what they were referring. There have been many vague comments posted, some of encouraging and uplifting nature, requesting prayer for the families involved, but the comments to which I am referring were of no such sort. They were meant to tear down, embarrass, and condemn.
A personal back story.
About five months ago, a very close friend of mine made a confession that has since turned my world ten kinds of upside-down, backwards, sideways, and all the other ways in between. It came as a complete shock. But one of the things he shared with me that night was James 5:16-
"Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (MSG)
As time went on, similar things happened in this situation. People ran their mouths, spread rumors, and said all kinds of ludicrous things. People that didn't even know my friend or the situation at hand were all of the sudden experts into his innermost thoughts and condemnation followed. The whole thing ended up being disastrous and has ultimately led to broken friendships, prejudices, and bitterness. And this all stemmed from a group of Christians, training for the ministry no less, who are supposed to heal, uplift, and support.
The middle portion of that verse returns to my memory this week. Confess and pray that you can be…judged? Condemned? Have your reputation slandered, gossiped about, and trampled all over?
I am well aware that there can really be no parallels drawn between the two situations. They are completely different except for in one way. There was an issue in the body- our body as Christians- and it was put out there for the entire world to see. But please let the above story be a word of warning if nothing else. This is already a tragic situation and speculation, rumors, and cutting words don't help anything at all. All they are going to do is hurt the person with an issue and the innocent bystanders associated with the tragedy, leading to anger and bitterness. We don't have to condone what has happened, but we shouldn't condemn either.
Love the person. Love their families. Keep both in your prayers.
And keep your nasty comments to yourself.
Please and thank you.