My pet rabbit died rather abruptly (as pet rabbits have a way of doing). Thus it was a forlorn 8-year-old who lovingly buried him beside the sandpile. Then every day I dug him up to see how he was getting along. The last time I saw him he was green.

The principle of “love covers” versus “investigative reporting” in Christian magazines is being kicked about like a ball on a soccer field. The opposing teams are the Pros versus the Cons. At the moment the Pros are ahead.

Thinking about our greater mission family in China while I was growing up, I remembered gratefully one occasion when someone fell—and how quickly, quietly, and effectively that fall was dealt with. Then love covered: it was not, like my pet rabbit, dug up again. I thought about our own family through the years and how, on occasion, situations had to be faced and dealt with. And buried.

I think of churches that wisely and compassionately deal the same way, remembering Paul’s plea for a censured Christian he felt had had enough: “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow” (2 Cor. 2:7).

There is a school where a student who needs to be disciplined has to do a certain number of laps around the football field; how many depends on the seriousness of the offense. But if another student taunts him or refers to it later, he receives the same punishment—doubled.

There will always be those rare occasions when some heresy, some cult, or some con game operating under the name of Christianity needs to be exposed so as to warn Christians. But that is something different. It seldom involves the trip-ups and tragedies of true believers. In “the family,” flagrant sins should be dealt with promptly, compassionately, privately. Then silence.

Every cat knows some things need to be buried.

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