Thursday, September 17, 2009

Judgment and Slander (The slander part)

And now onto another amazingly relevant topic in today's society: Gossip, slander, rumors, and bad-mouthing people.

Did you hear about so-and-so? Isn't that awful! What do you think? Does who-and-such know about this? I know! I can't believe it either! The scandal!

We hear this in the world all the time. Should we also be hearing this sort of thing in church? Does it really please God? I put forward the idea that it does not.

James 3 and 4 says:
"The tongue also is a fire! A world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. "

Wow - That's serious stuff right there! Dude!!

"All kinds of animals: birds, reptiles, and creatures of sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With our tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing: My brothers, this should not be!"

"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks his brother and judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge. (And you are not Him) The One who is able to save and destroy. But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?"

My pastor preached on this just the other week and explained that the greek word for slander does not mean lies about other people. It means words about a person that are spoken to harm them, whether they be true or false. If we know that a brother has a shortcoming, should we use that as ammunition to hurt them more? Or should we use that information to love, to exhort, to come along-side and build one another up?

If a brother sins, we are not called to tell everyone we know about it. In fact, it's a good rule to only talk about it to people who are either part of the problem or part of the solution. To talk about the faults of others, or even hypothetical faults that you've heard about, and pass it along to your friends so that you can all look down on them and judge them - how is that love? That is the fire of the tongue that comes from hell! Who is the accuser of the Brethren? The devil is. (Revelation 12:10) May we never imitate that aspect of him!

Put a guard on your mouth! (Proverbs 21:23) If a person in your life tells you the fault of another person in your life, tell them to stop (Proverb 18:8)! Do not pass it along! Advise them only to be loving, to be gracious, to confront rather than to gossip. Pass on words of blessing, and do not pass along unkind rumors, slanders, or gossip. Sometimes if there are differences between mutual friends, you are called to be a peacemaker, (Matthew 5:9) and that is fine. There is a world of difference between being a loving peacemaker, in which case you are part of the solution, and just being part of a long ungodly, unloving game of telephone.

Speak graciously in a helpful way, and do not speak against one another. Do not believe stories about other people unless you have also heard their side of the story (Proverbs 18:17) Never "judge" them but be loving and gracious. Do not pass along information which is not kind. Do not share other people's faults with people who are not part of the problem or solution. Your tongue can be used as an instrument of righteous to build one another up, or it can be used as a fire from hell to tear people down. May God bless you all richly with a loving heart, and a wise and gracious tongue!

Proverbs 15:4
"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit."

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