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He counted me faithful,
putting me into the ministry.
What Others Say About You (Evil Speaking)
(While writing this Bible Note, I received an email from American Family Association informing me that a certain Christian leader is being accused of gambling by moral liberals. Interesting timing.)
What Others Say About You
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (Matthew 11:18, 19)
1. The Sin of Evil Speaking
The above words Jesus spoke immediately after stating in so many words that His generation (of Jews) were like children playing games of pretending (wedding and funeral) who were upset that others were not playing the same game*.
I find it both interesting and logical that those playing at serving God are the most likely to become guilty of the sins of slander, gossip, and such like. Since such folk have not a true heart for God and His cause, and no true love for the brethren, they can easily and glibly let their tongues wickedly wag in service to the Devil.
Please do not misunderstand. I do not mean to say that all such evil speaking is done by such people. Rather, I think that the majority of these sins of the tongue committed by church attendees are committed by them. Others may at times be led astray into such sins. All who are guilty should thoroughly repent and repair as much of the damage as they can.
Remember the words of Christ, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" (Matthew 15:18, 19)
*An interesting side note: Jesus may have been referring to the Pharisees and their followers by the words "We have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented" , because of their strict, legalistic, dead dry religiosity; and He may have been implying the Sadducees and their followers in the words "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced", because of their skepticism and tendency to a "party" type of lifestyle.
2. The Subject of Evil Speaking
In the examples of evil speaking that Jesus gives above, we find that both the forerunner of Christ and Christ Himself were the ones about whom evil words and false accusations were spoken. Should it then surprise the true saint of God, especially those most actively working for God and never-dying souls, when evil words are spoken against them?
The Word of God answers a resounding "No!": "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" (Matthew 10:25)
3. The Separation of Evil Speaking
By separation, I am actually thinking of three types of separation: the evil speaker's separation from God and his separation from the one about whom he so speaks, and the separation of friends as a result of the false or biased information.
An evil speaker condemns his own soul to eternal suffering unless he repents and finds forgiveness from God. He also causes a rift in his relationship with the one about whom he speaks evil. He cannot have unhindered fellowship with such an one, for he has made himself his enemy, whether that individual knows or not.
When evil words are spoken, many times this will separate friends, even "chief friends". Once I felt that I had a close friend, but certain people said some things to him about me. I never found out the actual words, but can certainly give an educated guess. Regardless what the words were, I found afterward a certain coolness that had not existed before.
At the time, I did not fully realize what happened, but was able to figure it out later. My "friend" had believed the words spoken without giving me a fair chance to answer for myself. This he should not have done, but the result still issued in part from the evil speaking.
I might add a fourth separation, which would be the separation from God suffered by some souls who believe the evil speaking. Such souls then have trouble accepting spiritual assistance of any type from the subject of the evil speaking. This is many times the case when gossip is spread about a preacher -- sometimes even spread by one preacher against another.
An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. (Proverbs 16:27, 28)
4. The Suffering of Evil Speaking
I know somewhat the hurt, or suffering, involved in being the subject of evil speaking. However, this is not what I mean by the suffering of evil speaking. I am referring to the attitude and actions with which one should respond to such wrong doing. In many cases, it is best to suffer in silence and let God take care of the problem(s) caused by the evil speaking.
One thing that should generally be avoided is the attempt to chase down all rumors and gossip and try to straighten them all out. In many cases, the one talked about would not be able to get anything else done. The best defense against untrue talk is a true, wholesome, godly life and a heart that is entirely sanctified, having only pure motives.
Also, to start a campaign a words against the evil speaker can become a battle of fighting fire with fire. I believe that is obviously unacceptable behavior. Jesus being "reviled, reviled not again". He did NOT repay in kind when evil was done to Him, nor should we ever do so.
Yet, sometimes there are things that can be done which are right. In fact, we are duty-bound by Scripture to react in certain ways where possible and helpful. In cases where others are likely to suffer eternal damage by such talk, a kind, yet clear and firm, communication of one's actual actions and motives may help save souls from the hurtful influence of evil speech. Paul the Apostle was inclined to give reasons and explanations where he could see that it could help rather than hinder the cause of Christ.
The following method of resolving issues assumes that we are dealing with a fellow believer, or at least one who professes to be a Christian, though the principle may be applied throughout many of life's circumstances:
When possible, we are instructed to go to the offending party one-on-one, with humility and compassion and confront them with the problem. The goal of such a meeting is reconciliation with one another and with God, and certainly not to have an argument, nor to give them a "piece of our mind".
If the offender will not hear us, we are to take one or two others with us (Christians are implied -- I recommend more mature Christians). If the offender will still not listen or try to resolve the issue(s), only then should we take the matter to the church. If he will not hear the church in the matter, then he should be considered as a "heathen and a publican". So much for the idea of "You're not supposed to judge". There is a proper place for certain types of judgment in the church.
Some might say of treating the offender as a heathen, "But, that's cruel"; but, I would remind us that we are to deal with the heathen as sinners for whom Christ died. We should pray for them and work for their conversion. Therefore, the whole process is both Scriptural and consistent with true Christian attitudes and behavior.
If the above method that Jesus outlined for dealing with problems between people were consistently followed, I dare say that our church problems would be far fewer and our effectiveness in having true revival and in reaching lost souls would be much greater. (Jesus' instructions are in Matthew 18:15-17.)
One who is guilty of evil speaking and desires to worship God and have a clear conscience before Him, must do everything within his power to reconcile with the one against whom he has so spoken.
"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. " (Matthew 5:23, 24)
Whether or not the offended is able to reconcile with the offender, he is admonished in the epistle of I Peter to suffer patiently.
"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:" (I Peter 2:19-23)
5. God's Scales and Evil Speaking
As Jesus "committed himself to him that judgeth righteously", so should we all realize that we cannot have complete fairness and justice here in this life; neither should we insist on it, because we would then be condemning our very selves.
This is where "Judge not, that ye be not judged" is really important. Ultimately, we should be sure that our attitudes and actions are right before God. Then we should commit the judgment and vindication of our souls into the hands of a loving, merciful, and just God, Who never will make a mistake. He is totally trustworthy.
Are you suffering, hurting from the wrongfully spoken words of another? Have you been falsely accused? Is your reputation suffering the influence of evil speaking by others? Rest assured that one day the secrets of every heart shall be revealed and God will balance the scales for all eternity. This life has not the highest court of appeal. No, the final court of appeal is the throne of God.
His judgments shall be final, and His mercies are everlasting for the repentant believer in Christ.
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. (Matthew 10:26)
Yours in Christ,
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Last edited by BibleNote Writer, 21/Aug/2015, 12:21 pm
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
The Bible Note Writer
written to glorify God
and to help souls
on the way to Heaven.
9/Jan/2008, 11:07 am
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