What about those people who are clearly evil doers? Some are regularly involved in activities that are divisive and dangerous, but continue in public like a nice, wonderful person.
Some of the instructions in the Bible are quite difficult to understand, and even more difficult to follow. Paul instructs Timothy to teach people “to speak evil of no one” (Titus 3:2 ESV).
How should we understand this instruction? Does it suggest that we are to remain silent about all the evil that goes on around us? Surely someone needs to point out the things that need to change. But we can avoid direct personal attacks. Even if they are wrong, we can take a different approach.
Those who do wrong, those who do evil, clearly know that they are doing wrong. When we tell them, we are only informing them of something they already know. Normally, this just drives people away from us and does nothing to solve the problem. When we make a public statement about that person and their misdeeds, we again are simply notifying people what they already know. Again, it will drive that person and many others away from us. Thus we diminish the opportunity we have to influence them.
Paul qualifies his statement by saying: “Always show a gentle attitude toward everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and wrong” (Titus 3:2b-3a). The reason for gentleness is that we were once just like these evildoers.
It was the “kindness and love of God our Savior” that saved us and transformed our lives. Many commonly think such an attitude will only allow for more of their evil deeds.
But God’s approach to transform people is different from ours. So, it’s time to think differently, behave differently, and speak differently.
Speak no evil, and be kind.
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