Saturday, September 03, 2016

Gossip and Slander as Crucifixion

Monroe County
Linda and I have counseled and ministered to hundreds of individuals, families, and marriages over a period of forty-three years. We're far from perfect ourselves, and often thank God for the opportunity to be on other people's rescue teams. That God could use a wretch like me to help anyone amazes me!

We have been privileged to hear confessions of sins, failures, faults, struggles, shortcomings, wounds, and woundedness. We keep such things confidential. We never talk about them without permission to other people. 

And, we do not look down on struggling people. Why not? Because it would make our rescue efforts much harder! Instead of looking down on people we have to get down with them (= "mercy"). Why on earth would we gossip about and slander people we are trying to rescue?

"Gossip" is: non-value-added talk about others, behind their backs. Gossip is talking with others about someone else's failures and faults.

"Slander" is: demeaning the character of another person.

Slander is saying something behind a person's back that you would never say to their face. "Flattery" is saying something to someone's face that you would never say behind their back. Both are forms of dishonesty and hatred.

What you share with us… we never share with other people. Why not? Because it’s none of their business, and because it will harm the rescue effort. It is immoral, sinful, evil, satan-inspired stuff to gossip about people and slander people. So I am not going to do this. I am a greatly-rescued person on a rescue mission and I am not going to talk about the people God and I are trying to rescue. 

We are told in Scripture that to do this would endanger their lives. 

  • Leviticus 19:16 says: “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD."
  • In Psalm 140:11 "slander" is compared to violence: "May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent." "Slander" is a violent, abusive act.
  • Someone who slanders and gossips obviously is not following Jesus, for Jesus says in Matthew 15:19: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." "Slander" is evil. It is satanic.
  • In Romans 1:29-30 gossip and slander are marks of God-hating: They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil.

Gossip and slander are antithetical to the heart-circumcising cross of Christ.
In ancient times bottom-caste criminals were put to death by crucifixion. Sometimes a note would be attached to the cross for people to read as they paparrazi-ed on the brutalized dead body. See, for example, the enemy of our souls pouring on the shame in Mark 15:26: 
The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
If that were me hanging on a cross for my sins and faults and failures it would take a scroll to list them all. 

Here hangs John Piippo…  who has sinned and failed in many ways… who has not been entirely truthful… who has not been perfectly pure…  who has had a hard time loving his enemies…  who at times was proud and arrogant…  and so on ad infinitum et absconditus... (I’ve got all these things and more written in my spiritual journal…)

To gossip and slander someone is to shame them before others. It is to crucify them before the world and watch them hang with their laundry list of real and rumored failures. This is the work of the Antichrist. The Real Christ came to save, not to crucify. The Real Christ was crucified for our rescue and salvation. We read the following in Colossians 2:13-14:

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,
which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Christ was crucified so we, though deserving it, would not be. 
To gossip and slander is to crucify the people Jesus came to save.
Which includes you and I.