You Probably Won’t Read This but….

Posted: January 15, 2014 in Just Me
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brothers-of-EvilAre you personally guilty of using your tongue to tear down a fellow Christian or anyone, for that matter? Have you been wronged by someone who has spread rumors or gossip about you? Were you prevented from being able to confront that person? Or are you, perhaps, the one who those gossips come to because you’ll listen and not hold them accountable? All, according to scripture, is wrong and only allows the sinner to continue in sin, and causes division and foolishness. This isn’t going to be my heartfelt hurt speaking out here but instead it’s the Word of God and we can either heed His Word and put it into practice or continue seeing the damage and destruction of the church as a whole. Which role will we play? Problem or solution?

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend” (Psa. 15:1-3).

All of Proverbs 18 speaks of people who like to spread rumors, who gossip and keep things stirred up. The church is not exempt from such sinfulness. (see Romans 1:29b-32 it is a sin) “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19).

We are instructed how to respond when those gossips come to us about someone else. (Personally, I think that right there, would put a stop to so much of the festering sinfulness of gossip & rumors.)

Listening to the opinions, which, by the way, that is all they are, of someone and not getting the other side to the “story” is dangerous and foolish. (Prov. 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.)  and (Prov. 18:17 The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.)

A second part to this offense, against the victim, is not to get the two people together to talk it out.  (Prov. 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.)

Listening to the opinions of others and forming an opinion or answering without listening to the whole story, both sides, is not the way to handle it either.  (Prov. 18:13 He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame.)  We need to seek knowledge and truth from everyone involved and not just the so called “friend” coming to us with the gossip and rumors. (Prov. 18:15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.) and (Prov. 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.)

This chapter in Proverbs (chapter 18) also explains how powerful the tongue is, (The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Prov. 18:21) and (James 3:5-8 So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies, that pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence and is set on fire by hell.  For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind.  But no human can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.)

James 3:9-12: ” With it we bless the Lord and Father and with it we curse people made in God’s image.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.  A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it?  Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt-water spring produce fresh water.”

Our words will be judged according to the heart behind them. Do they appear to be good yet serve a greater purpose of hurting someone or are they really for the good of another? Do they appear to be bad (for lack of a better word) merely by accident when the heart is right? See how tricky this can be? I, too, had to seek God’s discernment in my words in this blog to be sure I’m not quoting scripture to bring others down but that my true heart intent be to hold them accountable, yes, but also love them to the point of sharing God’s instruction for all of us.

God will not allow those who gossip, spread rumors or lies to go unpunished: Proverbs 19:5 says “A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape.” and “I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak.  For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).

Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”  Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  NIV

What if you’re the one who’s been wronged?  Ask God to help you love and forgive them! When we love even the “least” of our brethren, Jesus accepts that love toward Himself (Matt. 25:40). You cannot love the Lord any more than you love the least in the body of Christ. “If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). 
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15).

I leave you (us) with this challenge or exhortation as I end this blog with tears and a heavy heart but with forgiveness and love for those who have been allowed to cause hurt and discord among fellow Christians: James 3:13-18:  “Which of you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.  For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.”

Other great blogs on this same topic:  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2009/05/18/gossip/ and http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/02/12/how-to-stop-church-killing-gossip/

Another great scripture to reference for further study:  Proverbs 26:20-28

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
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Comments
  1. steve240 says:

    One sad way that teaching on “gossip” has been used is to keep regular church members from knowing about questionable actions of church leaders or used to suppress people questioning church teaching. This is just something to think about. This teaching is pushed to such an extreme that it is considered “gossip” to even question a leader.

    Hopefully you are familiar with all that has occurred and been revealed about C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries. IMO one of the reasons for Mahaney being able to hide his sin and hypocrisy was the group’s distorted teaching on what “gossip” and “slander” was. It allowed Mahaney and other leaders to hide their sin and questionable actions rather than being brought to the light.

    Just something to think about.

    • lhug143 says:

      Thank you for your comment. I do believe there is a difference between accountability between church leaders, church members and gossip. What I was referring to was strictly expressing negative opinions about people in an attempt to seem a loyal friend (to the person being spoken to) when really the goal was causing strife and discord. When it’s just people running off at the mouth and none of it’s true or none of it’s confronting the accused then it is gossip. I understand what you’re referring to about the differences too.

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