Sunday, August 12, 2012
Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sun, 8/12//2012
HOW TO HANDLE YOUR NEIGHBOR'S REPUTATION, Lesson 24b
A REPUTATION CAN BE VANDALIZED PUBLICALLY
It Is A Serious Thing - When we undermine the reputation of another by the words we speak, we are guilty of destroying that persons respectability and credibility before others. We are guilty of doing unspeakable damage to a person's life and ministry by the words we say about them.
I remember reading of a woman who was guilty of gossiping about her pastor. She was convicted and went to him to apologize to him and to try and make restitution for her wrongdoing. The pastor graciously accepted her apology and then told her that if she wanted to make it all right again, that she should take a chicken, kill it, pluck it, carry its feathers to the top of the highest building in town and cast its feathers to the four winds. When this was done she was to return to the Pastor. She carried out his directive and returned to him. He looked at her and said, "Now go and collect every one of those feathers." She replied, in horror, "That is impossible!" He said, "So, it is impossible or you to take back all those things you have said about me."
Another Pastor was having trouble with a gossip in the church. Every time she would see his car parked anywhere strange, she began immediately to spread the word that their Pastor was having an affair. There was no truth to her rumors, but she kept it up until the pastor, in an effort to stop her mouth, left his car parked in front of her house, day and night for a week. That cured the problem.
The words of a false witness can be forgiven, but they will never be forgotten by those who are touched by their poison! Eternal damage can be done to reputations and ministries. People can even wind up in Hell because of the lies of a foolish person. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have absolutely no use for a gossip and a talebearer! I don't think the Lord does either!
“The man who with the breathe lent him by heaven, Speaks words that soil the whiteness of a life; Is but murder, for death is given, As surely by the tongue as by the knife!” (Jean Blewett)
It Is A Sad Thing - It is a sad day when one person thinks they have to repeat something on another. This is behavior that is hateful to God and demeaning to men! There are several ways in which people are guilty of using their tongues against another.
Slander - defined as, "Communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation." We are guilty of slander when we knowingly lie about another person in an effort to harm their reputation.
Lying - "A false statement deliberately presented as being true." Whether we admit it or not, we are all guilty of lying. Its no wonder when 67% of Americans do not believe in "Absolute truth." It is said that 91% of us lie regularly. Most never make it through a week without lying and 1 out of 5 cannot even make it through one day without telling a lie. Even men of God lie - ( Aaron - Exodus 32:24). Statistics say that people lie 92% of the time to save face and 98% of the time to keep from offending someone else. But, we have gone way too far when we tell things on others that we know are untrue.
Criticism - What I am referring to are statements made about another's actions, ways and deeds in an effort to hurt their reputation. Constructive criticism is a good thing, but destructive criticism is right out of the pit of Hell! The vulture sees nothing but that which is rotten and dead. He does not see the flowers and the green grass. He does not see the living things all around. His focus is on that which is dead and corrupt. There are a lot of vultures around the Lord's house!
A lady was looking out her window, watching her neighbor hang her wash on the clothesline. As she watched, she remarked to a friend, "Our neighbor sure isn't clean. Why, just look at those streaks on her laundry." Her friend replied, "Those streaks are on your windows, not her clothes!" Sometimes, it is the sin in our own heat that makes us look for the evil in others! If the best thing you can do is criticize, you would do well to keep your big mouth shut!
Talebearing - This is the practice of spreading gossip and rumors about others. It may be that the rumors are true. But, even that does not give us the right to tear down another's reputation. If we learn a secret about our neighbor, then we had better tell no one but God. He knows how to deal with their need and with them. I will promise you that He knows how to handle the gossip as well! Gossip is always a sin!
Insinuation - This is the practice of insinuating or hinting that something may be wrong in the life of another. When we are guilty of making people doubt another's reputation, we are guilty of sin before the Lord. This is the tactic that Satan tried to use against Job - (Job 1:11; 2:5).
Flattery - Flattery is saying something to a person's face that we would never behind their backs. Usually flattery is given in an attempt to gain something from that individual. Flattery is lying!
Exaggeration - This is an easy lie to tell. We stretch number, statistics, etc., to make things look better. What fisherman is there who has not been guilty of stretching the size of the one the got away? When we exaggerate, we are lying!
Silence - When we here an untruth told and we remain silent, we are guilty of the "slander of silence." We become a party to the deception by not setting the record straight.
"Loose lips sink ships!" This old saying is appropriate to the church today. Many churches are in turmoil because of gossiping and foolish talking. God will deal with the gossip. Notice what the Word has to say about the trouble a gossip can cause - (Pro. 26:20-28).
It Is A Sinful Thing - when we practice any of these methods in regard to another, we are guilty of sin before the Lord! (Pro. 12:22; Lev. 19:16-17; Eph. 4:25). In fact, God includes abuses of the tongue as three of the seven things He hates the most - (Pro. 6:16-19). Are you guilty of using your tongue to harm another? If so, then you need to repent of that sin and get right with God! When you use you tongue to attack another, you are opening up your life to the judgment of God. James is exactly right when he says the tongue is "World of iniquity." The question today is, “What shape is your world in“?
“Love One Another” By Betty Bender (1992)
Angry words! O let them never,
From the tongue unbridled slip,
May the heart's best impulse ever,
Check them ere they soil the lip.
Love one another thus saith the Savior,
Children obey the Father's blest command,
Love each other, love each other,
'Tis the Father's blest command.
Love is much too pure and holy,
Friendship is too sacred far,
For a moment's reckless folly,
Thus to desolate and mar.
Angry words are lightly spoken,
Bitterest thoughts are rashly stirred,
Brightest links of life are broken,
By a single angry word.
THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, Holy God! We do not want to entertain sin in our heart. We want our heart to be right before You so that You will always help to guide what comes forth from it. We know we do not do everything perfectly, so we ask that by the power of the Holy Spirit You will enable us to keep a pure heart and clean hands. Thank You for loving us and sending Jesus to show us what is right in Your sight. This we pray and ask in His Loving name. Amen!
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