If we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, want our congregations to grow, want people to come into a full relationship with Jesus, want people to accept our Father in heaven, and want to be an effective witness to God’s love, mercy, and grace; TAME YOUR TONGUE!
Nothing destroys the ministry of the church than when we are gossiping about those around us. No human being alive today is perfect. Jesus’s harshest words were for the Pharisees and Sadducees, the devout church people, of his day. He called them hypocrites and vipers. He chastised them over and over again for not loving the people they were supposed to serve. They whispered and talked about the sinners, the tax collectors, the “filth” of their day.
For someone who leaves the church and never comes back, or for those who won’t even step inside the doors of the church, the judgmentalism of hypocritical church people is one of the things they hate the most. Speaking behind someone’s back about how they did such and such, or know so and so, or did and do this and that, or made this bad decision, or keep making this mistake…does nothing but damage to the ministry of the church.
To hear some people gossip about others and hear, “Well, they are like this, so you wouldn’t ever want that person in your church anyway.” Where is the grace, love, acceptance, and service to our communities if we are talking about people behind their backs like that? We all need to learn to walk with and follow our Lord just as much as the person you are gossiping about…maybe even more!
We all need to reflect on the following scriptures and on how we think about, talk about, and treat others…
‘And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence – and is set on fire by hell. For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze.’
‘For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.’
2 Corinthians 12:20
‘The one who denounces his neighbor lacks wisdom, but the one who has discernment keeps silent. The one who goes about slandering others reveals secrets, but the one who is trustworthy conceals a matter.’