Please Stop Gossiping, Christian

  
Gossip is verbal homicide.  

It slays people, relationships, and reputations.  

Its destructiveness, like a nuclear disaster, can’t really be measured for years. 

 It tears down individuals, marriages, churches, and families. 

The Apostle James tells believers in James 3, “Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire.”

We who have believed in Jesus are called to suffer with a smile, to be silent before our persecutors as our Savior was, and to pray for even the wicked as He did.  Not to maim and destroy with our words.  

I used to love gossip. I ate it up. It made me feel good and big and “in” and better. In other words, it was a deceitful little drug that impersonated the love of Christ.  Like all idols, gossip was a stand-in for what my soul really thirsted for:  fellowship with my Creator.  So I would only gossip to the degree that I was not treasuring and enjoying the love of my Christ.

And Christians, to gossip about an unbeliever is horrible, crushing, and mean. But to gossip about a Christian?   A blood-bought believer who is part of Jesus’spotless bride?   Satan applauds!   Because at that point we are doing his job for him. “Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies” (Romans 8:33).  Unless we’re talking about church discipline or counseling or some other rare instance, it is helping Satan’s cause to say negative things about someone to anyone other than that person.

In all my past gossiping, I was absolutely sinful.  And so I exhort anyone who is doing this now, in the Name (and for the cause) of Jesus Christ, to stop.

All of us who have been saved by the blood of Christ must preach and speak the grace and patience Jesus Christ showed us, and let Satan, quite literally, be damned.

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Blood and Borders

  
In the time of Abraham, God took a man who believed Him, and through that man made a people for Himself of lineage.  Abraham’s children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren served as God’s people in a cruel and crooked world.  God then took that family tree out of bondage in Egypt and planted it in Canaan, a real place you could plot out on a real map.  He authored a people for Himself of blood and borders.  

They showed themselves (or were supposed to) to be His possession by circumcision and by being a people of the Law, God’s commandments that He gave to them through the man Moses.  The people among them who were truly His in heart were always saved through faith in God, like their father Abraham, but the whole narrative played out within a panorama of ethnicity and nationhood.  

But then Jesus Christ came.  

In publicly taking the penalty for sins on Himself and proclaiming the Kingdom of God, this Jesus cast light on the good shadows of the Old Testament.  The sacrifices and ordinances of ancient Israel turned out to point to Him.  The Law and circumcision and the nation of Israel itself all turned out to be words in a Gospel vocabulary. 

Two decades or so after Jesus ascended the Apostle Paul wrote this to a group of churches wrestling with Old Testament questions:

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

These disparate people Paul was writing to had all put on the same clean clothes:  The white robes of faith in Jesus Christ.  The guardian was no longer a guardian.  The Law and circumcision never saved people, were never supposed to, and God wasn’t using them as a paidagogos anymore, either.  Where there had been a public people of blood and borders there was now a public people of faith and Spirit.  And so these little local churches, these collections of upper class and lower class, Jew and Greek were made up of individuals who had more fundamentally in common with each other than they did with unbelieving neighbors or family.  

God is ransoming a people for Himself from every tribe and tongue.  And I believe our Savior and His apostles would have our churches, as much as possible, look like that’s what He’s doing.  

This church stretches beyond family trees and state lines.  

My prayer for my church and the churches of my city is that we would be homogenous in Whom we worship, but diverse in who’s doing the worshipping.  

We are one people, now.  Don’t let the skin colors or accents fool you.