Did you know that tabloids — those flammable papers full of sex and scandal like National Enquirer that appear at the check-out stands of most supermarkets — are mentioned in the Bible? Sure enough, it’s in Proverbs 16:27: “Scoundrels hunt for scandal; their words are a destructive blaze.” If you have a story that will bring down a celebrity, they will pay for it. The usual rules for journalistic truth and integrity of information do not apply to these enterprises. The juicier the story, the more they’ll pay.
The point of this is that if you search for evil, you will find it. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That is a blanket statement. We have all sinned, so if you want to find something on anyone, you will find what you are looking for. So what will be gained by that when it is God’s idea to forgive and forget? Witch hunts will always be successful. This should be no surprise. What should be a surprise is that it is “news” when we find it. It would only be news if we believed everyone was clean, pure and righteous to start with. But, of course, we are not.
To be sure, we are not talking about law and justice here. We have legal systems that apply when someone has crossed a line. We’re talking about expending time and energy searching for sin in each other’s lives and spreading the “news” of it around. Looking for evil. Hunting for scandal. Digging up dirt. This is not becoming to members of the body of Christ. Our sin will “find us out.” We do not need to help that process along. Our job is to encourage each other and remind each other of God’s forgiveness and the righteousness of Christ made available to each of us.
We could probably create a tabloid on each of us if we wanted to, but that would not be helpful to our growth. Let’s encourage each other while it is still day. If there is legitimate concern about someone, go to that person and talk to them directly. Don’t publish a scandalous story, even with your gossip. Those words only create a destructive blaze that helps no one.
Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. Proverbs 11:27