What would you think if I told you that the majority of people who don’t go to church not only know but love God? Being unfamiliar with Jesus isn’t what is preventing a closer relationship with him; it’s us and our tongues. You’ve heard the saying ‘bite your tongue’ and I think we should be doing more of that.
The other day a feeling came over me that the reason most people don’t get connected with a church is that they fear judgment. The most obvious assumption would be God’s judgment, but it is not his judgment that is keeping people away, it is ours. For me, that was true for many years, especially living in a small town. The things I had worked on and began healing from, others were quick to rip the bandage off the wound – exposing my scrapes and scars to whoever would look.
We need to remember that church is a hospital, everyone there is needing healing in some manner or another. We all have wounds, scrapes and scars – those are reminders of our mistakes, our imperfections and what leads to humility and acceptance. They are pieces of our testimony which are meant to draw people in, to encourage them in having a closer relationship with God, and understanding his mercy and forgiveness.
This excerpt below explains gossip ingeniously and how detrimental it truly is:
“Who am I? I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cruel and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I’m nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and ruin marriages. I destroy careers and cause heartache and sleepless nights. I wreck churches and separate Christians. I spawn suspicion and generate grief, make innocent people cry on their pillows. Even my name hisses. I am gossip.”Charles Kimball
WOW! If that is not enough to make you take a step back and think for a minute, I don’t know what is. Take Kanye for example, the moment he shared he was saved, a moment that most people are overjoyed and even encouraged to share – was ruined by hypocrisy. Many people took to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and blogs even to say – it was a crock. He was being interviewed not for the incredible transformation, or the power in our Lord and Saviors blood but the validity of it. Now, I understand the importance of discernment and knowing when someone is a false teacher or not – but that was not the basis behind any reports, interviews, posts, etc., the basis was a disqualification. The last time I checked, we aren’t who disqualifies.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew to focus on our issues, pasts, shortcomings, faults, and sins. Once those are remedied only then should you help your brother. Help him, not condemn him, there is a big difference. It is a sleight of hand trick in a sense that deflects a flaw normally worse than the individuals flaw you’re so eager to reveal. Why do we do this?
Gossip is likened to a tasty morsel and without gods help in taming our tongues, it is near impossible to break the habit. Judgment goes hand in hand with this also because one feeds off of the other. So, how can we limit this nasty package duo? Here are five ways I think could help:
- Sometimes the gossip comes to you. When this happens you should be able to identify it rather quickly, change the subject or defend the person.
- If what you are whispering involves tragedy, a plot of evil, discouragement, disgrace or someone else’s secret – let it die and not leave your lips.
- Disengage. You can do this by identifying why you feel the need to share something negative. There is most likely something underlying within you that is feeding that unhealthy desire.
- Pretend that either the person you are speaking about or Jesus is standing beside you. If you can still share it, go right ahead.
- Last but not least, we were created in Gods image and with that comes his reputation. Each time we judge, criticize or condemn another person, we make our father look bad. We were taught love, mercy, and grace – that is what he uses with us, why would we treat others any differently?
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 NIV