I was a guest cohost on a Christian radio show when a call came from a man named Wade. He said that he was a Christian, loved the Lord, and had a Mormon girlfriend he was considering marrying. His question: What did we think? It was similar to telling us that he had been robbing banks, and asking what we thought of it.
I let my cohost answer first, and while he was talking, I felt a little hesitant because I wanted to ask Wade if he and his girlfriend were having sex. I took courage and asked, and after a moment of deafening silence, he said that they were.
“We should be honest with people and tell them the truth about their sin, if we really love them.”
His honesty helped me diagnose his problem. I gently told him that he had no fear of God, evidenced in the fact that he ignored the clear command not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14). Plus, he was a fornicator, which meant that he was sinning against God, against his own body, and against the woman he professed to love (Psalm 51:4; 1 Corinthians 6:18).
The Bible says that open rebuke is better than secret love (Proverbs 27:5). In other words, we should be honest with people and tell them the truth about their sin, if we really love them.
Think of Nathan as he stood before David knowing that the king had committed adultery and murder. David not only knew what he had done, but as king, he knew what he could do. If the prophet exposed his sin, he need merely nod to his head guard and Nathan was a dead man. But Nathan didn’t consider his own welfare; his great concern was to do what God had directed him to do.
David had engaged in adultery, committed murder, taken Bathsheba as his own wife, and hidden his sin as though all was well. It wasn’t, and Nathan was there to tell the king of Israel so.
Earlier in his life, David’s conscience was so tender that when he merely cut part of King Saul’s robe, his conscience condemned him. Yet he remained silent when he had so seriously sinned against the King of kings and violated His Law.
After telling David a short story about a man who stole another man’s lamb, and after hearing David’s pathetic and hypocritical judgment on the man, Nathan rebuked him with, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7).
“Don’t be afraid of offending men, dear Christian. Be afraid of offending God.”
What a shock that must have been to the king, and what a shock it is to sinners when we do the same thing with them. They have hidden their sin as though all is well, but as true and faithful witnesses, we bring it to the light that they might be saved. Scripture exhorts us:
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Don’t be afraid of offending men, dear Christian. Be afraid of offending God. And think of the fate of those who cover their sin: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).