It was no secret.
The woman had been married five times. To add to her scandalous reputation, the man she was now living with wasn’t her husband. Her neighbors wanted nothing to do with her – except as a source for savory gossip.
Shame reigned in the woman’s heart. Judgment reigned in her neighbors’. Then … Jesus entered the scene.
John 4:7-42 tells us the same crowd that had previously condemned the woman’s way of life later thanked her for telling them about Jesus. From one disgraced woman arose a ministry that impacted an entire community.
As we continue our 1 Corinthians 13 challenge, we’ll focus on the last section of 1 Corinthians 13:6 (ESV). “[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
As we discussed last week, God calls us to rise above the temptation to gossip when people make devastating choices that ruin their lives and relationships. It’s especially easy to fall into this trap when it involves someone we don’t particularly like. But when we choose to behave this way, we further the decay of our country, our community, and even our churches.
Wouldn’t it be better if, when we hear about people who have blown it, we looked for ways to bring God’s truth into their situations? We could start by admitting (to ourselves and to God) that we, too, have made poor choices. Then we could seek ways to help those who are struggling to overcome or live with some of the consequences they’re experiencing.
We could let them know that others have been there for us during our times of struggle and offer to attend an AA meeting or other appropriate support group with them. Or we could invite them to church and share a meal afterward. Let’s ask God to show us meaningful ways to get involved, then step out in faith to do what He tells us.
The joy we experience while helping restore people’s lives far outweighs the fun of relishing their downfall. Even when – especially when – we help someone we previously scorned.
Final thought: How do you think the woman started her day the morning after she met Jesus?
How would you?
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. You can reach her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.