The title of this blog post is a quote that I overheard in a sermon by guest-preacher Paul Whitt at my home church back in April. I can’t remember if it was original to him, or if he attributed it to someone else. But I remember it because it spoke truth to me. I think it is a great quote:
“The Spirit of God does not delight in hearing of other Christian’s failures.”
All true Christians have the Spirit of God inside of them. The Apostle John put it this way:
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. (I John 4:13 NIV)
Therefore, if God’s Spirit inside of us is proof that we are Christians, then we should expect ourselves as real Christians to live in a way that bears this out in our lives. That means, if Paul Whitt is correct, (and I believe he is) that it is not spiritually healthy for us to derive joy and satisfaction from hearing about other Christian’s failures. We should not invest ourselves so heavily in the downfall of our brothers and sisters in Christ that we actually rejoice when they fall into public sin and disrepute. This should make us sad. The kind of joy that comes from seeing another brother fall is not from God, it is a fruit of the flesh, from the Devil.
Sadly, it has been my experience that some so-called Christians make tearing down other believers their primary “contribution” to the church. I agree that we need to stand for holiness and expose false teachers, but we are never to rejoice when we find them and expose them. Rather, we need to grieve over the fact that they needed to be found out in the first place. This task of exposing and rebuking must always be seen as a painful necessity, and we should never get addicted to the adrenaline rush it gives us to expose another believer as false or sinning. I am sick and tired by all the evangelical attack dogs that cry crocodile tears every time another’s sins are exposed, while at the same time congratulation themselves over their own clever part in taking them down. They do not have a healthy view of things; they derive laurels from the failures of others. Let’s stop feeling hatred for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and really love them. It is time we stopped criticizing and rebuking each other over petty things that do not matter and allow love to “cover a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). Make sure that we have not become Christian headhunters, looking to cut others down for the sake of making trophies for ourselves. Rather, we should only ever expose others’ sins for the purpose of helping them, even if we know we will never get any credit or congratulations for it.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (I John 4:16)