Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gossip and Slander as Crucifying Others

Monroe County
(I'm re-posting this, with minor edits.)

If you are upset with someone in the church, talk with them. DO NOT talk with others about them. 

Linda and I have counseled and ministered to hundreds of individuals, families, and marriages over a period of forty-five 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 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? And besides, we have struggled and experienced God's redemptive love.

"Gossip" is: non-value-added talk about others, behind their backs. Gossip is talking with others about someone else's failures and faults, without permission.

"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. Because it will harm the rescue effort. It is immoral, sinful, evil, and satan-inspired to gossip about people and slander people. So, we am not going to do this. We are two greatly-rescued persons  on a rescue mission. We are not going to talk about the people we and God 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 was attached to their crosses for people to read as they paparrazied on the brutalized dead bodies. See, for example, the enemy of our souls pouring on the slander and shame in Mark 15:26:

The written notice of the charge against him read:

If that had been me hanging on a cross for my sins, 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 difficulties loving his enemies,
who had moments of pride and arrogance,
who has made countless mistakes,
and so on ad infinitum ad absconditus...

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 misdeeds. This is the work of the antichrist. 

The Real Christ came to save, not crucify, to love, not shame. The Real Christ was crucified for our rescue and salvation.

As we read 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 take it away,
nailing it to the cross.

Christ was crucified so we, though deserving of crucifixion, would not be.

To gossip and slander is to crucify the people Jesus came to die for.

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God