Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Lethal Weapon

Sadly, I have become aware of a person in our church who is gossiping and slandering both the church and one member in particular. What a horrible, devastating testimony that is to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In thinking about this grievous situation, what prompted me to blog is the rather sobering thought that followed: What if I stood and announced this week that we had learned of this situation and all the pastors and I were going to visit the person involved on the next day...without naming the person. (Here’s the sobering part) I wonder how many of the folks in church would spend a sleepless night of worry.

Isn’t that sad? Sad that a pastor would even harbor such a thought. Sad that the state of affairs in so many churches today would make that be a possibility. Sad that we do not recognize the horribly destructive power of the tongue. James and the writer of Proverbs warn us:

“Prov. 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
James 3:8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”

Gossip and slander are dreaded destroyers of the sweetness of the fellowship we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture constantly reminds us of the serious nature of these sins:

“Prov. 20:19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,
Therefore do not associate with a gossip.
Eph. 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
2Tim. 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
Titus 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,”

Those who have been given over to a depraved mind are said to be gossips and slanderers in Romans 1:28-30.

So much harm is done by that little thing called the tongue. Yet it only reveals what is on the inside of the person. Jesus said:

“Matt. 12:34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
Matt. 15:18 “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.”

Contrast this with the beautiful 15th Psalm which tells us that true worshippers of God do not slander with their tongues (v.3). Oh, how desperately we all need to hear the governing voice of the Spirit when we are tempted to gossip and slander. Let us all hear the solemn admonition of the apostle Paul: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

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