Appearances

“I’m not one to meddle in other people’s business but I just wanted to put you in the loop about what others are saying,” Mrs. Martin said to Jennifer.  They were sitting in Jennifer’s living-room.  Mrs. Martin had dropped by to drop off some books she had borrowed.  Jennifer had invited her to stay and have some tea.  Mrs. Martin declined but told Jennifer that she needed to have a word with her.  She seemed a bit concerned.

“Please tell me what you are talking about, Mrs. Martin,” she asked.

Mrs. Martin put her hand on Jennifer’s shoulder.  “I don’t know quite how to say this.”

“Just say it.”

“People are saying that you and Robert Foster are spending too much time together.  He’s married, you know.”

“I know he is, Mrs. Martin.  I serve on the church Finance Committee with her, remember?  What you have been hearing are nothing more than nasty rumors.  Pay no attention to them.”

“But someone said she saw you leaving his home one afternoon when his wife was out of town.”

“I was there to drop off some boxes of donations for Mr. Foster to take to the homeless shelter.  I couldn’t do it myself as I had another engagement and he offered to do it for me.  If you don’t believe me you can ask his son who was there.  That is the only time I went by the Fosters’ home when Susan wasn’t there.”

“Oh.”  Mrs. Martin looked embarrassed now.  “I’m sorry I troubled you with this.  I just thought you ought to know what people were saying.  I’d better leave now.”  She stood up and Jennifer walked with her to the door.

Jennifer felt sorry for her.  She knew she meant well.  “Thank you for letting me know,” she said.  “I will straighten the matter.  Good night, Mrs. Martin.”

“Good night, Jennifer.”

Jennifer closed the door quietly behind her and shook her head.  This was not the first time that people in the church gossiped about one of the members and sadly, it wouldn’t be the last.  The pastor needed to do something about it but he was more concerned about not ruffling feathers.  If nothing was done soon, he would have more to worry about than ruffling feathers.  Already people were leaving the church.  Many times she had considered leaving but she didn’t because she believed that God wanted her there.

 

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Godly Sorrow

2 Corinthians 7:10

When I read this I remembered that Paul had written an earlier letter, rebuking the congregation for not sorrowacting in the case where a member was guilty of adultery. He had relations with his father’s wife, something that God had condemned. The other members had not dealt with matter. Apparently, they were proud of their church when they should have felt shame that this type of thing was in the church and root it out.

Paul called on them to do what needed to be done. He reminded them that they were not to keep company with such a person. His letter was very frank and it had the desired effect. The Corinthian believers repented. Their pride had turned to mourning and sorrow. Paul didn’t regret writing the letter because it produced godly sorrow.

Sometimes we have to do what is necessary what is best for others–no matter how hard or painful it may be. Paul revealed his motive for writing the first letter. It was not for the sake of the man who committed the wrong or his father whom he had wronged but for the sake of the church. He did it because he cared. Sometimes what we do might seem harsh to someone but we do it out of love. Tough love.

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