Here's a tough one...



Here's a tough one...

What do you do in a situation where you have a duty to report someone?

Joe, a christian, and Mary, a christian, go to school together. Mary tells Joe of some seedy behavior and she tells you "here I am trying to follow the rules and Bob and Danny are working together!" The school rules, as they are written and as Joe believes them to be, is to report such behavior. Joe, feeling convicted about breaking the rules himself by not saying anything, strongly advises by email to Mary that she should report the incident and says in the email that if he is wrong (about the rules) then Mary should let him know. After a day or two passes, Joe gets an email from Mary saying that she discussed the issue with a faculty member who told her no one broke the rules, which she says is just what she suspected(pretty confusing, huh?). Mary also tells Joe to not speak to her again by peron or email or else she will file a complaint against Joe - she also requested to be moved seats in a class to be far away from Joe.

Joe is hurt and doesn't understand if he is right or wrong. Has Joe done something wrong?
Several things stand out in my mind as I read this.

First, the communication between Mary and Joe was via E-Mail.

Bad way to communicate a sensitive issue. With no facial expressions, no tone of voice, no emotional connection, E-Mail and simmilar corrospondance is misunderstood far more often than it is taken in context.

I also noticed that faculty was immediately involved and I see no mention of anyone speaking with "Bob and Danny" before involving the authorities.

This looks like a complete breakdown of communication, zero personal interaction and I suspect that if the 5 people involved were each to write down what took place, you would not be able to tell that they were talking about the same event.

It appears to me, from what you have said here, that Joe owes Mary an apology for getting her into a situation where she went to an authority over something that turned out to be acceptable behavior, and

Both, Joe and Mary should apologize to Bob and Danny for the false accusation and for not respecting them enough to speak directly with them in the first place.

Before that happens, I would also recommend a good look at
Romans 1
1 Timothy 5
Proverbs 20:19
As you can see, God cautioned us repeatedly about the dangers of gossip so that none of us find ourselves caught up in the situation "Joe, Mary, Bob, Danny, and the school administration" are now tangled up in. ;)


Joe thought that he would likely have to report the situation regardless of confronting anybody - he doesn't understand what role he plays, he is only a student, not a detective or authority figure. Joe diligently looked at the rules at other schools, and saw that some of the other rules provided for this type of confronting, but that his school did not. Joe understood the rules to be: your aware = you have to report. Joe expected that if Mary truly doubted this, she would have not reported it, and then Joe would be off the hook as well (Joe thought that by email he could avoid being screamed at by Mary over the phone - big mistake in the end).
In regular circumstances, Joe would completely understand your answer, Ride4theSon.

On top of that, Mary has since spread the news to about half the class, causing a bit of an upset to Joe's daily routine.