Santa Clara, CA
Perhaps it is high time to really take a closer look at something we may not even recognise that we are often doing, gossiping.
This is borne out of a previous conversation, one that seems better left alone. What is so grevious to this soul is manifold, something that has been trying to find a proper articulation for quite a long time. Of all people, we, as disciples are called to a higher standard, a truer nobility, a grand and lofty place. It is often our character that betrays us, our words running past our prayerless considerations. To stop midstream and rear back on the horses, to shout out, Halt! We have forgotten something!
This measuring we do, in our minds, of particular people, of judging with scant evidence and at times even with much fodder, turning us into something more akin to a Christian attorney than a follower of the One more wrongly accused than any who has ever lived.
This needs that prefactory clause that recognises the paradox of the matter ... "[i]are you saying then[/i]". No. There is no hiding from the truth here. There is no butressing of one thing against another. It's a heart issue, it's a pulling out the planks that we might truly see, it's the weight of force aginst us that begs our repentance for the idle words and overlooked proclivities that still haunt us.
A section of scripture that has been lingering around for about a month or longer now, seemingly looking for a place of expression;
[i]And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.[/i] Gen 9:20-27
I know my tendencies are to draw of the [i]tense[/i] of matters, the underlying sentiment oftentimes. Surely I have misapproriated this in the past, even reading things into (esigesis) the scripture that is not there, believe we all have done it at some level. So forgive my anaology if it breaks down here.
Something of uncovering that aligns much with gossip and talebearing. The short of it would be, even things that are true need not always be spoken out loud.
[i]And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.[/i] 1Pe 4:8
Interestingly, a similar treatment noticed here;
[b]charity shall cover the multitude, &c.[/b]--The oldest manuscripts have "covereth." Quoted from Pro_10:12; compare Pro_17:9. "Covereth" so as not harshly to condemn or expose faults; but forbearingly to bear the other's burdens, forgiving and forgetting past offenses. Perhaps the additional idea is included, By prayer for them, love tries to have them covered by God; and so being the instrument of converting the sinner from his error, "covereth a (not 'the,' as English Version) multitude of sins"; but the former idea from Proverbs is the prominent one. It is not, as Rome teaches, "covereth" his own sins; for then the Greek middle voice would be used; and Pro_10:12; Pro_17:9 support the Protestant view. "As God with His love covers my sins if I believe, so must I also cover the sins of my neighbor" [LUTHER]. Compare the conduct of Shem and Japheth to Noah (Gen_9:23), in contrast to Ham's exposure of his father's shame. We ought to cover others' sins only where love itself does not require the contrary.
This is not as cohesive as I could wish for, something of a muddy mix ... exposure rather than covering, gossip and holding ones peace (or [u]piece[/u] of mind), judging with wrong judgement. This preoccupation with climbing into others heads, over shooting, jumping to conclussions. Hiding behind a spiritual so called 'discernment'. On and on it goes and I keep finding these polar opposites making inroads or rather roads that should have become dead ends long ago, being retrenched.
By way of comparisson, how little do we find in scripture the very things that have become commonplace amongst us in these matters?
The 'undressing' of the woman caught in adultry and the opposite reaction of our Lord.
The example of Ham and the opposite of his brothers.
Saul and David and the regret he felt for even cutting off a piece of his robe when everything and everyone spoke to his 'right' to cut off his head.
There is endless examples. Where is our nobility without pride, our humilty without degradation, grace with understanding?
To pull it back to the more pointed matter at hand, gossip. Where is the similar conduct, character or expression ever mentioned or alluded to by our Lord? And why does that not trouble us as much as it ought to?
A few more for considerations;
[i]For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:[/i]
... [i]intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind[/i]
[b]intruding into those things which he hath not seen[/b]; thrusting himself in a bold and daring manner into an inquiry and search after, debate upon, and affirmation of things he could have no certain knowledge of; as of angels, whose nature, qualities, works, and ministrations, he had never seen with his bodily eyes; nor could ever discern with the eyes of his understanding any such things in the Scriptures, which he ascribed to them; but they were the birth of his own mind, the fruits of his own fancy and imagination, things devised in his own brain: being
[b]vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind[/b]; judging of things not according to the word of God, and with a spiritual judgment, and according to a spiritual sense and experience, but according to his own carnal reason, and the vanity of his mind; being puffed and swelled with an high opinion of himself, of his great parts and abilities, of his knowledge of things above others, and of his capacity to penetrate into, and find out things which were not seen and known by others: this shows that his humility was forced, and only in outward appearance, and was not true and genuine,
[i]And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.[/i] 1Ti 5:13
[b]Tattlers also[/b] - Literally, overflowing; then overflowing with talk; praters, triflers. They would learn all the news; become acquainted with the secrets of families, and of course indulge in much idle and improper conversation. Our word gossipers would accurately express the meaning here. The noun does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The verb occurs in Joh_3:10; rendered, prating against.
There is yet still the whole matter of the tounge that unruly beast so perfectly defined by James...
| 2006/9/10 10:05||Profile|
| Re: Gossip|
Here are words from fundamentalist evangelist John R Rice along the same spirit:
...Christians ought not to be suspicious of everybody. A Christian ought not to say:
'Well, I'm a good fundamentalist-type. I'm trying to block the ministry of Jerry Falwell. If I could get him off the air and make him stop preaching I'd be a real fundamentalist...'
...no, you wouldn't. You wouldn't even be a good Christian. No, no...
A Christian ought to love one another and not be suspicious of one another. A Christian ought not to think evil of others until they have to.
Some years ago, about a great man of God, a Christian brother that I love very much. He said to me, 'Did you know so-and-so happened, and a certain man was found, and oh, its out, he was in a hotel with a woman and a certain city and he told what city it was and it's out now, and the man's in disgrace.'
I said, 'I don't believe.'
Well, he said, 'I know, but they've told me they know.'
And I said, 'I don't care, I don't believe it.'
An he said, 'Why don't you believe it?'
And I said, 'I don't want to believe it, and I'm not gonna' believe it.' And I didn't.
And two or three months later that same man came back to me and said, 'You know, that was a mistake.' He said the fella' misunderstood about it and it was not true at all. And so on I said, 'Praise the Lord.'
And I went off by myself, and I prayed, and I said 'Lord, next time somebody slanders me I wish you'd remember, Lord, I didn't believe about that man.' Yeah.
Wouldn't it be a good idea if Christian people would rather think no evil. Where they're not so quick to find fault. Not so quick to imagine some wickedness. Christian people ought to love one another. How often the Bible tells it.
What's a Christian gonna' do then, about this matter of fellowshippin' with Christians-I don't mean the Devil's crowd, I mean good Christians. I don't mean the modernists that don't believe the Bible, I don't believe in runnin' with that crowd, I'm talkin' about good Christians. I'm talkin 'bout people; born-again, believe the Bible, preach the gospel, want souls saved! I'm talkin' about that. What you gonna' do with those?
Well, um, in Romans chapter 14, the Scriptures said, "Him that is weak in the faith." Mark, "in the faith." That's a term often used in the New Testament. "In the faith." That means certain essentials of the Christian doctrine. But a man's, "weak in the faith," he said, receive him, "but not to doubtful disputations."
'You mean get along with a fella' if he's not a very strong Christian?'
'You mean if he's wrong on baptism.'
Yeah, but he's right on the blood and salvation, and goin' to heaven, and if he doesn't make a fuss about it.
'You mean if he's wrong on tongues'...
...yeah, but if he's right on the blood, salvation, gettin' people saved, and he doesn't make division and strife over it. Yeah.
I had a revival campaign in Springfield, Missouri. A great four-fold circus tent ---. Oh the great crowds came, we had hundreds and hundred saved. One night I had 26 Assembly of God preachers on the platform. They believe what I preached. They like my kind of preachin'. They were glad to see people saved. They said, 'Amen,' when I preached. They helped to get people saved. You don't like that? I do. I think the Lord liked it alright.
| 2006/9/11 1:28||Profile|
"A christian ought not to think evil of others.." very true..."until they have to." true as well. God bless, John
| 2006/9/11 2:46|
| Re: the futility of exposure|
Tarring and feathering has never gone out of style, and never will.
May God make us all like Joseph who sought to protect Mary from humiliating public shame.
"Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly (planned to send her away secretly NASV)." Matt. 1:19
Here's a thought: Does exposing the sinner to shame in the public forum encourage him to repent, or just to do what will protect him from further humiliation? (ex: get defensive, denial, boasting, bullying, drugs, alcohol (escape), works, etc)
think back to early school days....
| 2006/9/11 8:07||Profile|
| Re: Gossip|
Gossip is an indicator of inability to wait on the Lord - of not trusting that God will bring the full matter to light. And in our worldly attempt to use "our light" to expose others, we shed darkness on them.
As the "Body" of Christ, when we slander others we actually slander ourselves, and even worse - Christ.
| 2006/9/25 0:43||Profile|
Jesus Christ lays out in I believe Matt 18 the proper process for handling sin and error against each other and the church. Paul also gives much clear instruction on handling the process.
This process is a little harder to implement with traveling ministries who bring error into the body, or broadcast it over the airwaves. Many have written and attempted to discuss with those in question the supposed error's to be corrected and are often rebuffed for various reasons. Then the next step 2 or 3 witness but a second hearing is often almost impossible. So before the church it goes.
When it's out in the "public domain" it must sometimes be confronted in a "public domain " manor, so that those who are exposed to it can hear both side of the story.
If it's a problem in your local church then it is easier to keep the process in check and thereby prevent gossip.
We must also remember that people will tag you with the gossip label unjustly. Then they have now entered into false witness and gossip themselves. Sooo...carefulnes at all turns sprinkled with charity with the goal of the truth to set all free.
for what it's worth, God bless, John
| 2006/9/25 1:43|