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Ephesians 5:12

ESV For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.
NIV It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
NASB for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
CSB For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.
NLT It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.
KJV For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

What does Ephesians 5:12 mean?

Putting his own warnings into practice, Paul does not describe every possible sin in gruesome detail. Rather, he notes that what unbelievers attempt to hide from the rest of the world is even more depraved than what is done openly. This approach offers important wisdom regarding how to address sensitive matters regarding sin and its impact among believers.

First, believers can condemn certain sins without going into detail about them. For example, rape is clearly a sinful action. However, it's not necessary to use vivid details when discussing it. In fact, this can be counterproductive. The same is true of sins of sexual immorality or violence. It is sufficient to teach against sins and avoid shameful details. In a more practical sense, this also means Christians don't need to investigate every sordid detail of something in order to determine whether or not it's suitable.

Second, believers can speak against sin without direct personal experience in that area. It has become a common response, for example, for some to say, "You can't speak against this problem (sexual sin, addiction, etc.) because you've never gone through it." Or, to suggest that those who have never tried certain sins are in no position to discourage them in others.

While it is true that those who have shared in a struggle may be able to help others in the same area more effectively, it is simply illogical to suggest that we should avoid speaking against any sin we have not personally experienced. One does not need to have personal experience with murder, rape, addiction, theft, or other issues to be correct when they condemn those actions. Christ was without sin, yet spoke against many sinful actions. He serves as the perfect example all believers are to follow. Humility and grace are important, but neither mean we cannot speak on a particular sin unless we have direct experience with it.
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