If we were each created in God’s image and likeness, then how do we justify speaking against God’s creations?
Unfortunately, we use our tongue “to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse our fellow-man, who is created in the likeness of God.” (James 3:9 GNT)
Why do we do this? “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?” (Matt. 9:4 NLT)
Jesus said, “Out of the mind come evil thoughts…and speaking evil of others.” (Matt 15:19 NCV) Speech that is injurious to another’s good name.
Jesus also said, “A good man’s speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it.” (Matt. 12:35 TLB)
So, what wiggles its way out of your heart, tickles your vocal chords, and jumps off the end of your tongue? Is it the rich treasure of complimenting and encouraging others, or is it the venom of speaking gossip and negativity?
God is very particular about how we treat His body parts, His sons and daughters. Malachi asked, “Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God? So why can’t we get along?” (Mal. 2:10a MSG)
Why can’t we get along? How is it possible to love God and hate Him in others at the same time? How do we not love all parts of Christ’s Body? It would be like this: Do our eyes hate our polished toenails for being prettier? Do our teeth covet the gold in our ears? Are our hands jealous because our feet sport new coverings?
That may sound silly, but when Christ lives in others, they become a part of His body. So how do we not see them as vessels containing His Holy Spirit, unless the snarling monster of self raises its ugly head to block our view?
If we speak against or criticize another, gossiping behind his or her back, we “will be fighting against God’s law of loving one another, declaring it is wrong.” (James 4:11b TLB)
Jesus admonishes us, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34 NLT) To love is a commandment, not something we choose to bestow only on everyone, not just a select few. And not when we feel like it. Godly love is an act of the will, not a feeling.
The Lord once said to me, “Do not wound My Heart by saying unkind things about those I love, things you could not say to their faces.” Wow! We grieve the heart of our precious Lord by what we say about the ones He loves, which includes everyone.
One day, Paul witnessed the stoning of Stephen. As the Jewish leaders took their religious stance, fingers tightly clutching their stones of condemnation, Paul stood there, as one of the crowd, watching, while he held the garments of the other witnesses, making it easier for them to hurl the stones of pharisaical piety that ended Stephen’s life.
Paul, then the worst of all persecutors of Christians, encountered a blinding light on the Damascus Road as the Lord surrounded him and asked why he was persecuting Him.
Paul asked who He was and the Lord said, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:5b NKJV) In persecuting the Christians, Paul had persecuted the Lord Himself.
Paul had to lose his sight before he could gain his vision.
So, let’s make this a personal application…Is there a stone of judgment or revenge clutched tightly in your hand? Or do you stand holding another’s coat while someone else throws sanctimonious stones or gossip gravel at another person?
May we treat others as we would treat Jesus…with love and consideration. Let nothing that others do to you alter your treatment of them.
***Updated old post