By Lou Coleman
Folks will hug and kiss you on Sunday morning and come Sunday night they are on the phone talking behind your back. “Tell Me It Is Not So!” People are hypocritical. You think that they are with you, but you find out that they are tearing you down. Jealousy, gossip, lying, backbiting, cheating, criticizing, slandering is not only in the world but it is happening in the Church. So many Church people; Christians have become notorious for this. We speak ill of our brothers and sisters. We critique our leaders, but not to their faces. We whisper in the corners to one another trying to get our homeboys, home girls to sympathize with us. “You Got to be Kidding… Tell Me It’s Not So!” Have we forgotten Proverbs Chapter 6 that says, “These things does the Lord hate, these six things, yea seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies and he that sows discord among brothers.” Not to mention, Ephesians 4:29 which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Don’t you know that God hates false witness and spreading lies and He hates stirring up conflict? Even if something is true it can still stir conflict and create disunity amongst us. And just because something maybe true, doesn’t make it okay to spread around. Our words should build up, encourage, instruct, maybe provide godly and gracious correction if necessary. Public shaming and spreading information about someone never helped anyone. We are called to protect the dignity of our neighbors. We should take a cue from Jesus. He gently told sinners leave that path. He didn’t publicly shame people for making mistakes or being in sin. He never said “Hey Matthew, did you hear what Mark did last week?” But for whatever reason Christians somehow get sucked into it and we destroy each other. We drive people away from the church, and we cause divides, and we leave people feeling discouraged, hurt, angry, and humiliated. We talk about others like they’re somehow vile offenders. Like they’re somehow worse than us. “I can’t believe so and so would do that. That’s terrible!” We are just as guilty of this sort of thing as everyone else or even more so. No wonder the Church has little influence upon the world compared to what it might have. The Church has become worldlier than the world itself.
How can we use our mouths to praise God on Sunday then cut down our neighbor on Monday? How can we be people who praise God while using that same mouth to attack someone made in God’s image. (James 3:9-12). We should be treating all people with the same level of respect and dignity. After all Jesus said, “Let the one without sin, be the first to throw the stone.”[John 8:7} If we claim to be the beloved children of God and the body of Christ but spend our time and energy ripping each other apart, well, that sends a very clear message doesn’t it? If our claims of being a place of love coexist with hostility and backbiting, basically we’re just a bunch of lying hypocrites. Yes, the truth hurts. It’s like medicine. It does not always taste good, but we need it! I tell you, we have to do better. Too many people give up their faith because of the mean gestures of Christians. We must not forget why the Church is in the world. Our words should spur one another towards Jesus not away from Him.
I’m not trying to be critical nor harsh. I’m calling for us to become more like Christ. I’m calling for us to have a renewed commitment to speak with grace. To use our words to build up. To Stop and Think when we speak. Consider what will happen if people actually listen to you. I don’t have that problem. I know most of what I say isn’t listened to. But let us be imitators of God, who love like Jesus did, and use our words to glorify God like Jesus did. Let us refuse to participate in gossip, criticism, slander, and defamation. Let us be known as a people who speak well demonstrating grace. Let us use our mouth for God’s glory and the church edification. Never forgetting that we will be held accountable before God Himself for the things we do and say. It’s a terrible thing to see gossip, jealousy, pride, failure to love the brethren, etc. Let us love one another as Christ loves us!