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Page 228

Is a public sin necessarily worse than a private sin? If not, why then is it of greater concern to the church body?

    Mark saw four young men his age entering a well-known bar in the city. One of them was Vincent, a member of his church. The witnessing of this incident troubled Mark a great deal. Several times he wanted to call him, but each time he went to the phone, he lost courage.

    A few days later, however, he met Vincent at a shopping mall and invited him to join him for a snack at a restaurant table.

    While Mark approached the subject carefully and sincerely, Vincent became angry. He told Mark that he saw nothing wrong with going there, that it was none of Mark's business, and then left.

    Mark was bothered by Vincent's reaction for some time, but about three weeks later while driving past, Mark again observed Vincent entering the same pub. This made him doubly concerned and distressed.

    After much prayer, thought, and struggle, Mark contacted another member of their church whom he knew that they both deeply respected - Mr. Jeffries, an older man who was well-known for his wisdom, trustworthiness, and honesty.

    After hearing Mark's explanation of all that had taken place, Mr. Jeffries agreed to invite Vincent to his home with Mark, which he did.

    Mark was very thankful at the close of this meeting at Mr. Jeffries' home when Vincent told them that ever since Mark had talked to him the first time, his conscience had been clearly warning him. "This is it," he said. "I'm through - no more bars for me!"

    Mr. Jeffries closed their meeting with a loving and touching prayer, and Vincent sincerely thanked them both.

    If Vincent had refused the advice and warnings of both Mark and Mr. Jeffries, what would have been necessary?

A public sin is not necessarily worse than a private sin, but it is one that is known by many or all church members. A sin can become public in the following three possible ways.

1. A sin can become public due to the public nature of its result. A man being proven guilty of theft and his name being printed in the local newspaper, or a young couple expecting a child before being married, would be examples of this type of public sin.


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