When is silence a grave sin?


I am aware that there are nine ways in which one may be an accessory to another’s sin. One of these ways is by silence. I’m having a very difficult time figuring this out. When is it my responsibility to say something? I worry that every time I hear someone use the Lord’s Name in vain, I have to say something or I’m committing a grave sin by remaining silent. What about friends who choose to have pre-marital relations? What about friends who are Pagan? On the one hand, it would be impossible and unwise to try to speak out about everything, especially today. On the other hand, where is the line?


I would be more concerned about taking the beam out of my own eye than silently listing other’s faults. If you start a running commentary on other’s sins you will find yourself a very smug lonely person. God Bless


I emphatically disagree. It is not “running a commentary” on others’ sins to reprimand them. If they take the Lord’s name in vain, and they’re Christian, then certainly reprimand unless to do so would draw attention away from a more important point.
You can correct other’s faults without leaving a beam in your eye. One way to remove the beam from your own eye is to “help”* other people remove their own beams.
I think it is usually obligatory to speak out when someone says something. Mortal sin, however, is not the case unless it’s a serious one and there is little or no motivation not to speak out.
BTW what are these nine ways?

  • I put this in quotes because since removing the beam from one’s eye is a completely free choice and no one can ever stop you from doing it, the notions of “difficulty” and “assistance”, if taken in their most literal sense, do not apply.


I tend to look at it this way. What others do or say is none of my business but I do not have to let them walk over me. My children though are another matter :wink: I am responsible for them but anyone else, I am not responsible for. Not even my beloved wife. She is as free as I am :slight_smile:

If they are a friend and a believer, go to them once alone and tell them your concerns. If they blow you off, go back with another believer or more. If they blow you all off, treat them like a non-believer but remember they are your friend as long as they will have you.

If they are a non-believer, be at peace with them. Preach the Gospel to them but only with words when ABSOLUTELY necessary.


Here are the nine ways:

  I. By counsel
 II. By command
III. By consent

IV. By provocation
V. By praise or flattery
VI. By concealment
VII. By partaking
VIII. By silence
IX. By defense of the ill done


We must have some reasonable moral surety that the calling out of anther’s sin will be positive and taken in charity. If our speaking out could cause more hurt or harm, then you are not required.

The case you mention, the Lord’s name in vain; with my kids I corrected and change has come, with a person I don’t know very well or have no authority over as I do with my kids it may not be so.

We are required to speak, but we must first discern the spirits of the situation. I have a niece and a nephew, both are cohabiting with their partners, my nephew is my God child and I can speak to him about this without a fight, and I have. My niece is a spoiled rotten brat and at the slightest word to her she will go crazy and take it out on the whole family, so I’ve been silent. I’ve talked to my pastor about both of them and he feels I have been prudent in my decision.

Take each case on it’s own merit and discern the possibility of success, sometimes it’s best to speak up directly, sometimes not. In all things pray to the Holy Spirit, for your self and the person you are concerned about; especially if you plan to point out their faults.

closed #7

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