I have been on the inside of the church scene for over 20 years. I know how people react when certain things happen within families in the church. A dating couple’s sexual encounters are made obvious when the lady becomes pregnant. A person’s criminal behavior becomes obvious when it hits the newspaper. Rumors are accepted as truth, facts are exaggerated, and the list goes on.
How do we handle that? Make it a topic of conversation at work? In our Sunday School classes? I must admit that it is a bit awkward. I often avoided the issue because I did not want to embarrass the family affected. Now that I have experienced a few things, I think I would have appreciated that someone tried to make sure I had emotional support through a difficult time. Now is not the time to isolate and ostracize those who have no control over the decisions their spouses, children, or siblings make. We can take the self-righteous route and say that it was bad parenting, but even the best of parents have kids who have premarital sex, get DUIs, and get locked up for domestic violence. No one is exempt.
I know it can often be uncomfortable to us because we do not know what to say. From personal experience, the people that ministered to me most were those who hugged me and told me they loved me without wanting to rehearse the details.
If a friend or someone you know is facing an uncomfortable situation, now is the time to reach out in love. They need your love and compassion more than you realize.