Tag Archives: gossip

A Forgotten Regulation

It’s one we don’t think about. I imagine you haven’t heard a sermon on it in a long time, if ever. It first came up in Deuteronomy and was re-emphasized a few times in the New Testament. More importantly, it has incredible potential to keep you and me out of deep messes. We can hardly imagine why it is important at all, but it got enough mileage in Scripture to show us the Lord thought it a worthy concept.

What is this mysterious and forgotten regulation? The requirement that we have two or three witnesses to establish the validity of a word or matter (Deut. 19:15) is the one that needs to make a comeback in our generation. Think of how we establish a matter. We accept a whisper, we seize a rumor, and the worse the report the sooner we believe it. We so believe it that we feel it such an established fact that we have the right to tell it far and wide. Such is the genesis of broken friendships, wounded hearts, assassinated reputations, and of course, a sin itself. This doesn’t even cover the fact that it is blatantly unchristian and repeatedly forbidden.

The Lord knew what He was doing when He gave us this regulation. He knew conflict would arise among us and He knew we might not always play fair. So He took precautions for us. It protects us from both directions.  On the one hand, it’s so easy for someone to make up a charge in a moment of vindictiveness, or at least so exaggerate the situation that it no longer resembles what actually happened. If there’s a requirement of two or three witnesses, unless they conspire together, it will rule that out. At the very least, it will greatly lower the chances of a false accusation getting through. This makes a great principle obvious. Don’t form opinions by the word of one person, even if a good one, because you never know what complications in life may color his or her judgment. Also, we should check our own conclusions by those of others because it’s so cheap and easy to form a harsh opinion. You can check and see if others you respect have the same opinion.

Don’t form opinions by the word of one person, even if a good one, because you never know what complications in life may color his or her judgment.

Secondly, this can lead us through church troubles. Such crises usually denigrate into who can garner the most support as if it were but a popularity contest. But, praise the Lord, we don’t have to settle matters that way. I look for two or three witnesses, and if they are not available, I turn it over to God. Isn’t this what Matthew 18:15-20 is all about? Then personalities are irrelevant and we have a clear path through the mess.

There’s something to this two-or-three-witnesses thing. Do you suppose it has something to with why we are sent out two-by-two to witness of our Lord?

There is a lot of junk in this sin-cursed world. Perhaps, though, there wouldn’t be quite as much if we would but remember a carefully-defined, yet mostly-forgotten, regulation our Lord gave us long ago.

Article by Jimmy Reagan

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Symptoms of the Heart – Part 2

“Take two pills and call me in the morning.”

At times the heart may produce symptoms of a possible problem that requires immediate medical attention while at other times produce mild symptoms that cause no need for concern at all. For example, a person that is relaxing in a lazy chair may need to consult a medical professional should his heart begin to accelerate at great speed without cause. On the other hand, someone who has been running a marathon would not be as concerned with a higher heart-rate.

Unlike the physical heart, the spiritual heart has only two possible conditions; wicked or righteous. As mentioned last week, these conditions put forth symptoms that can be diagnosed to indicate the state of one’s heart. We have already discussed the heart that speaks with profanity and vulgarity but there are other symptoms that can reveal the condition of our hearts as well. Jesus said, “For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness and slander” (Matthew 15:19).

Every town has at least one gossiper, but you didn’t hear that from me! Morris Mandel said, “Gossip is the most deadly microbe. It has neither legs nor wings. It is composed entirely of tales, and most of them have stings.” Do you know anyone that circulates rumors, spreads secrets and speaks with hurtful words? No, I’m not talking about the new presidential administration; rather, I’m talking about those who have private information about people and spread that news with others who have no business knowing it. I’m talking about the intentional defaming of another person’s name or reputation without so much as considering the wound such actions will yield.

The Bible tells us, “A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:7). We find today that the world has placed lesser value on sins such as these considering them “trivial” if nothing less. Because of this foolishness, the world has turned gossip into an accepted form of entertainment in which consumers actually pay to hear more of! Walk into any grocery or retail store and you will probably find newspapers and magazines devoted to nothing but the spreading of rumor, hearsay and scandalous affairs.

But the Bible speaks very directly to such things when it says, “Those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Gossip is not trivial; it is a serious sin and one not to be tampered with. Jesus said, “The things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” (Matthew 15:18).

Gossip is a symptom of a tainted heart in critical need of renewal. Only God can provide this renewing of the heart by His redeeming gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. If you are guilty of the sin of gossip but desire to restore your heart to God you can do so by turning from your sin and placing your faith in Jesus Christ. To learn more contact michael@michaelwaits.com

Article by Michael Waits

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