Summary: I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. - 2 Corinthians 12:20 Church splits, divisions, gossiping and all kinds of fleshly problems is something we can think is normal in the ...
I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. - 2 Corinthians 12:20
Church splits, divisions, gossiping and all kinds of fleshly problems is something we can think is normal in the Church life. Who has not been involved in a Church were problems existed. Paul the Apostle wrote two long letters to the Church in Corinth over on-going issues of sin in the life of body of Christ there. He was grieved over the division and lack of humility and agreement those brothers and sisters had. He was very much strongly against even a hint of division if it came out in any way of disorder, or tearing down of the body of believers. Some believers laud the clearest model of a Church meeting can be found in 1 Corinthians 14, but it seems this Church had so many problems and everyone it seems was jostling for position and few were submitting to Elders and leadership. As some in the Church wanted to follow their own leaders and way there was slander and gossip that was occurring towards other possibly Overseers. After 2 long letters to this Church there still was not a full resolution and Paul feared that the problems would still be existing. Can it be the same way for us, that years can pass and we can still harbour the same feelings of resentment, selfish ambition, and even slander and gossip can come out of our lives? Slander is a very destructive sin. It speaks usually against those who are in authority in the body of Christ, destroying their reputation and sense of respect to be submitted to. Slander separates friends and even brothers and sisters in the Lord (Proverbs 16:28).
With our mouths and careless words we can destroy another brother and sister (Proverbs 18:21). Many Churches and ministries have been split by malicious rumors, untrue accusations, without speaking to the individuals privately. The sin of slander is also dangerous in that we partake of the very character of the devil. When we follow the Lord and act godliness we are being like God as its his character. The word slanderer, or "malicious talkers" (1 Timothy 3:11) is the greek word diabolos, meaning "false" accuser. This is a title given for the devil (Jude 1:9, Revelation 20:10). When we commit the sin of slander we are doing one of the main practices of the devil. He is known as "the accuser of our brothers and sisters" (Revelation 12:10). This should sober us to realize the severity of the sin of gossip and slander. We are never called by God's Spirit to criticize and speak evil of others in the Church but to always look how to serve and love each other. Though we might be slow to change like the Corinthian Church may God give us grace to not speak evil of the brethren. To pray for those who fail and are weak, and never spread gossip or give an ear to it ourselves, as Paul recommends to disassociate with a believer who slanders (1 Corinthians 5:11). Lord, forgive me for any gossip and slander I have done over the years, cleanse me of these sins and allow me to build up your body and not tear it down anymore. Amen.