“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Tattle-tale, are you familiar with this old-school word? Definition: a person, especially a child, who reveals secrets or informs on others; a telltale. It usually occurs among the siblings involved in a rivalry with each other. My brother was a junior detective who was always watching our mischievous younger sister so he could tell our mother. He loved to see her get in trouble. But I also recall my mother advising him to stop being a tattle-tale and readily asking him, “What are you doing that you shouldn’t be doing?”
In witnessing wrongdoing, “What would you do? What would your child do?”
The scenario that I vividly remember from my childhood involved theft. I was probably around 11 years old, and my paternal cousin and I went on a shopping trip to Macy’s. Each of us had a $10 allowance [this was in 1969], and with child-like faith, we made an extensive shopping list. The only thing we could afford was a swimming cap. But I saw a clearance sign for wallets and stopped to look. Excited, I found a small wallet that I could afford. As I looked up, fear gripped my mind and body. I witnessed my cousin stealing a wallet. It was then that my cousin’s real character of being a bully was exposed. She stated, “If you tell and I get in trouble, I will say that you told me to do it, and I will tell the police that you stole that wallet.” Needless to say, I did not tell anyone until now.
Stop being a tattle-tale were words that followed into my adulthood. Growing up, I had a timid personality and did all that I could to avoid conflict with others. Yes, I witnessed many wrongdoings on the jobs I worked on, yet, I did not get involved. Not because I didn’t care, the employer did not care.
Even so, my mindset was retrained when I began employment with the New York State Division of Parole. One of my strengths is the skill of observation, which was necessary to work in the dark underworld. Under the training of the Assistant Deputy Director, I was taught that our eyes must see everything and report all infractions.
In today’s society, the line is blurred between right and wrong. Many believers are desensitized to the moral and ethical decline that permeates our environments. And most will not get involved in moral and ethical dilemmas, including witnessing criminal activity. We look the other way because we have adopted the “see and don’t see” mindset.
Yes, we ignore the pollution that results from “What is truth? Truth is what I believe it to be,” giving our teens “their right to privacy,” and we keep it a secret that our best friend’s husband or wife is cheating on their spouse. It is a conscious decision to willfully overlook the actual predicament of the world we live in. And our greatest enemy has us blinded by the prosperity sermons and our desire to live a happy life, so we hold fast to the worldly standards of “I am not my brother’s or sister’s keeper,” and “This does not concern me.”
Love does cover a multitude of sins, yet, we have a moral responsibility to God to do our duty to God and humanity. Criminal activity and raising a rebellious child to do as they please are not included in “love’s spiritual cover.” How does God view deliberate, intentional sins and the believers who are aware yet do nothing?
Acts chapter 5, verses 1-11 tells us the story of the husband and wife, Ananias and Sapphira who schemed to lie regarding the amount of money they received from selling their land.
“But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'” (Acts 5:3-4). As we read further, both husband and wife dropped dead from lying.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
We are the light-bearers of this world. Speaking out against injustice, disclosing criminal activity, and disciplining our children is the expectation of righteousness. We will be held accountable if we do not stand for the truth and God’s commandments. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
Preparing for Eternal Life each and every day.
Prayer: God, we pray for the courage to be just and take a stand for the truth. We ask for forgiveness for the times we have overlooked and become a part of someone else’s intentional sin. We pray to be anointed with the Holy Spirit and ask for wisdom as we seek knowledge. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.