“You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son,” so says Psalm 50:20 (NKJV). The Message Remix version states it this way, “You stab your own brother in the back.”
If you and I were created in God’s image and likeness, and our families, friends, and neighbors were all created in God’s image and likeness, then how do we justify speaking against God’s creations?
Do we not see the face of Christ in others? How can we love God and hate Him in others at the same time? Would you like it if someone said something against your child? Our heavenly Father doesn’t like it either.
Malachi asked, “Don’t we all come from one Father? Aren’t we all created by the same God?” (Malachi 2:10a The Message Remix) 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 GNB).
If we say God reigns supreme in our lives and we are part of His body, why are we so unloving to His other body parts? Do our eyes hate our polished fingernails for being prettier? Do our teeth covet the gold in our ears? Are our hands jealous because our feet sport new shoes?
You may say that sounds silly, but if we are all parts of Christ’s Body, why does one part behave so unbecomingly, so unlovingly, towards another part? I just don’t get it!
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.” Our love for Christ must prevent us from grieving Him with our criticism and judgment of those He loves.
Let’s bring this closer to home. Let’s say you are in a restaurant and see someone you know, perhaps, your preacher or someone well known eating with his or her spouse. They are having a lively conversation, waving their hands in the air, with determined looks on their faces.
The next day you tell a friend what you saw, but what do you say? “Oh, I saw so-and-so last night, fighting with her (his) spouse in a restaurant. They were waving their hands all around, arguing. It looked terrible. I’ll bet they’re on the verge of breaking up.”
Now, what have you done? You have gossiped and spread rumors of that which you had no knowledge. Matthew Henry said, “Men are most apt to speak evil of those persons and things that they know least of.” They were probably not arguing at all, just having an impassioned conversation on a subject close to their hearts, such as, how do you suppose rumors get started?!
Jesus warned, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging,” (Matthew 7:1-2 The Message Remix).
We are neither to listen to gossip nor to spread it. Remember, those who gossip to you will turn around and gossip about you! Have you ever felt the hot breath of another’s Judas-kiss upon your neck? Has another felt yours?
Lord, keep my tongue from bringing shame on Your name. Let my words to others be always wrapped in love and lavishly filled with encouragement. Amen.