Lucia's Blog: SOWERS OF DISCORD
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, November 29, 2014

SOWERS OF DISCORD

"There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven which are an abomination unto him:  Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; A heart that deviseth wicked purposes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that uttereth lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."   
Proverbs 6:16-19


I.  SOWING SEEDS OF DISCORD

We fight a great war against Satan with the special arms that the Holy Spirit provides for us and we do very well against the enemies on the outside. However, our most destructive enemies are within our own fellowship. Let us consider the strong warnings our Lord gives us concerning the sowers of discord.

The Word of God, the Bible, speaks with a clear voice against sowing seeds of discord among brethren.  God through His inspired Word urges us against the wrong seeds which bring discord and displease Him.  Our God in heaven wants His children to be united. We must learn to get along!  He wants us to live in harmony with one another.  It pleases Him!
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!"  Psalm 133:1. 

 This concerns Him so much that Jesus in one of His famous prayers, prayed for this unity saying:
 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me."  John 17:20-21.

Let us keep in mind that sowing strife is not the same as standing up for the Truth.  Sometimes if we stand up for what is right, there will be strife.  In these cases the problem is on the back of the one who has chosen to oppose what is right.  "Sowing strife" is another way of saying, "causing unnecessary trouble" or being a "trouble-maker."  Those who sow discord are like a plague and God says they are to be stopped.  God wants His children to worship in a healthy way and have healthy spiritual lives.  God wants us to have good spiritual health.

The apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, inspired by the Holy Spirit, made an appeal to them concerning living in harmony with one another saying:  
"Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment."  I Corinthians 1:10.  

He also exhorted the brethren at Ephesus saying:  
"Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  Ephesians 4:3

Our God loves peace.
"He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it."  I Peter 3:1.
 Unfortunately, there are many among us who are willing to disrupt that peace because of their evil desires or intentions, intentions to cause us harm and sow seeds of discord, nothing more. In James we have been warned about the evil that jealousy and selfishness produces in our hearts, sowing discord.
"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing."  James 3:16.

It miserably robs us of that peace and harmony that we need so much.

In the Old Testament we have been warned that of the many things the LORD hates, sowing the seeds of discord among His children is right there in the top six or seven:  
"There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood; A heart that deviseth wicked purposes, Feet that are swift in running to mischief, A false witness that uttereth lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren."  Proverbs 6:16-19

It is a serious thing because it divides us and causes us to be unlike God. This is not the character of God in us and God does not approve of it. It robs many of us of the faith and hope there is in us. We must stay away from those who sow discord because they cause severe damage to the body of Christ. They are selfish. They are serving self and not dying to self. They are not walking the narrow Way. They deceive with empty and shallow words, taking many innocent souls captive.  
"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive."  Romans 16:17-18.

My question is:  What are the "seeds of discord"?  Consider the following causes and the cure for these wrong kinds of seeds and diseases of the heart: 

  • Evil Pleasures, Fleshly (Lust) and Worldliness:   
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures."  James 4:1-3.  
We quarrel and fight because of pride, malice, covetousness, ambition, and revenge. When we set our heart, mind and soul on earthly pleasures, it renders us weak leading us to divisions. When we are led by the lust of the flesh or its pleasures, we are not walking in the Spirit. You can be sure that it will bring us conflict and quarrels that cause war among us.

  • Lack of Love:    
 "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions."  Proverbs 10:12

Hatred seeks for opportunities to provoke us one against another. It delights in beating up on others.  To the contrary, love appeases. It removes offenses and injuries. Love gives the benefit of the doubt. It pours water on the fire rather than gasoline. Love causes one to smile at the triumphs of his rival. It does not keep track of grievances.


  • Busybodies:  
"For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies."  2 Thessalonians 3:11

Those who are always busy "sowing the seed of the kingdom" will never have time to "sow seeds of discord."  They do not have time to meddle in the affairs of others. Trouble-makers are haters of all men. Those who are busy and being productive in the kingdom of the Lord have no time to manipulate and control others with their wicked ways. We must not busy ourselves with what does not concern us.  

"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters."  I Peter 4:15.

God is very clear that we must mind our own business for the sake of His kingdom.
"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you."  I Thessalonians 4:11.   

He also wants us to mind His business and not be lazy. He demands that we be productive in His business and not idle.
"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."  Romans 12:11

If we diligently labor for His cause, we will not attempt to run the lives of others. God has a lot for us to accomplish for His kingdom's sake.


  • Anger:   
"A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife."  Proverbs 15:18.

Anger is a terrible disease of the heart and one of the seeds of discord that can cause us to be contentious. Anger ignites the fire that stirs up strife. On the other hand, he who is slow to anger (that is, he who is meek) will be a great peace maker. He will prevent strife and quarrels. He unites and reconciles those who are in strife.   We who are children of God must not let our passions control us and lead us in the pathway of anger. The kind of man who cannot control his temperament or anger is always under the influence of his wrath. He is always destroying whatever he finds in his way. He is a stumbling block to others. 
 "An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression."  Proverbs 29:22.  
This wrath or anger snares men in cursing, swearing and profaning God's name. Uncontrolled anger leads to uncontrolled words and fits of rage that lead to divisions that sadly last a lot longer than the wrath itself. Anger can only produce the seeds of discord and fury. 
"For the churning of milk produces butter, and pressing the nose brings forth blood; so the churning of anger produces strife."  Proverbs 30:33.

We must learn to differentiate between righteous anger and sinful anger.  Righteous anger focuses on God alone and His kingdom, His business, not on ourselves and our own kingdom, our rights and concerns. Righteous anger focuses on how others offend God, His name and His rule. Our main concern must be that of offending God. Likewise, righteous anger is self-controlled. What that means is that it will keep its head above sin, not cursing, screaming, raging, or going out of control. Nor does it cause one to be depressed in self-pity or despair. Nor does it ignore people, snub them or withdraw from them. We can find three occasions of righteous anger in Jesus in Mk. 3:1-6; 10:13-16; Jn. 2:13-17.  In the Old Testament we can find also three cases of righteous anger first in Saul against the Ammonites, I Sam. 11:1-6; then in Jonathan against Saul, I Samuel 20:24-35. 
"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."  Proverbs 19:11.  

Remember this is how our Father treats us with all of our shortcomings. He is patient and I know He has been very patient with you and me!  He wants us to treat others with the same kindness and love. He wants us to extend the same grace freely that He has extended to us. He is slow to anger, waiting patiently for us to grow, be rooted up in His Word, maturing to the stature of His Son, to precious vessels of righteousness for His glory. He is patiently helping us walk our Christian walk, but often we must turn the other cheek. We must follow the Golden Rule if we are indeed His children.
"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  Matt. 7:12. 

"Above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins." I Peter 4:8.

As we love others, we are going to overlook their sins against us. What that means is that we are not going to get offended, grumble or complain. Instead, we are going to love and pray for them. This is how love covers a multitude of sins. Now, do not get me wrong when I say that by overlooking sin, I do not mean indulging in sin. Why not use the protocol our Lord Jesus used when we see a brother or sister in willful sin?   
"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."  Matthew 18:15-17.  

But when a member of the body of Christ is sinning willfully against God and His church, we must bring it to his/her attention and follow the steps given above by our Lord.  
 "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.  Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."  Galatians 6:1 

  • Envy: 
"A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot."  Proverbs 14:30.

This terrible disease of the heart and seed of discord can come as a consequence of two main causes: 
  1. Lack of contentment.
  2. Lack of love.  
When we envy, it is because we are not content with what God provides and has done for us. We are dissatisfied all the time rendering us weak so that we envy or covet what others have. Envy is a powerful temptation and very destructive as well. Envy among brethren leads us to refuse to submit to those in leadership such as elders. Why?  Because if you have your way as the one in control, then you will have a hard time submitting to those who indeed have that responsibility. There are many negative facets to envy. Envy is not just desiring what the other person has.  It is not just being resentful toward those who have blessings that you don't.  Envy does not want the other person to be blessed. Envy is the root cause of many other sins as well, such as adultery, stealing, slander, hatred and murder. Pride is the cause of this disease of the heart.

We see this terrible sin all over the Bible with its terrible consequences. Let’s begin with the case of Aaron and Miriam who envied Moses for the position God had given him. Numbers 12:2. In a similar manner, Korah, Dathan and Abiram, along with some of their friends envied the high priestly status that the Lord had given Aaron. Number 16:3; Psalm 106:16. 

We see it played out in Saul toward David. David's many accomplishments in battle, his victory over Goliath and all of Israel's approval toward him awoke this sin of envy in the heart of Saul. Saul’s envy produced the seeds of many other evils. Remember, he tried to kill David many times. Envy was the cause of his anger, jealousy, paranoia and murderous intent toward David.  Because of this envy of the heart, Saul ruined the rest of his life. His envy toward David was disturbing to him so much that he became obsessed with attempting to kill David. Envy causes striking and powerful actions. It is the first step in the damaging sins of slander, gossip, fighting and murder.

Because of this terrible sin, the Jews delivered Jesus into the hands of evil men, Mt. 27:18. Following the same pattern of envy, a later group of Jews expelled Paul and Barnabas from Antioch of Pisidia, Acts 13:45, 50.  The Corinthians divided, I Cor. 3:1-4.  Some even preached Christ out of envy, in order to add affliction to Paul's chains, Phil. 1:15-16.

We are all at times guilty of this terrible disease of the heart, but this ought not to be. We must examine our hearts and purge out the envy. Those who call themselves children of God ought not to behave in this manner. 
 "For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:3-7.

Envy is a fruit of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21. It is demonic, James 3:14-15.  My question is, Why do people envy?  We can suggest several more things:   
  1. Immaturity, Gen. 37:3-4
  2. Ego, Daniel 6:4  
  3. Insecurity, I Samuel 18:7-9
  4. Greed, Ecclesiastes 4:4
  5. Frustration, Psalm 73:3  

Envy is a matter of the heart. Jesus said, "It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."   Matthew 15:11. 
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."  Proverbs 4:23.

The heart is the starting point of this seed of discord. Sadly, envy will determine which paths we will take on our life’s journey. The remedy for this disease is to always guard our hearts against such works of the flesh with all vigilance.


  • Pride or Desire for Preeminence:  
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 2:3-5

The root cause of this disease of the heart and seed of discord is a lack of humility rendering us selfish and vain rather than meek and lowly in heart. It is pride that provokes us to impress others rather than humbly thinking of others as better than ourselves. We must learn not to make our own interest the only focus in our life, but rather regard the interests of others, their feelings and wishes. We must hold others in high esteem if we are Christians indeed. In order to overcome this big sin, we must have the mind of Christ. What that means is that we are going to behave like Christ in our love, our thoughts, our desires and our motives. This is the heart of Christ in us: the image of Christ in us and we in Him as He abides in us through His Word, having fellowship with one another.


II.  HOW SHOULD WE HANDLE THOSE WHO SOW SEEDS OF DISCORD? 

  • Patiently Teaching Them:   
"The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."  2 Timothy 2:24-26.  

As Christians we are to be peacemakers if indeed we are servants of Christ. A servant of His is not contentious. Christ is not contentious. We must be kind and gentle even when correcting those who are our opponents. We are not to be angry or irritated with them. We are not to humiliate them publicly either, but to correct them with patience, instructing them in the Truth. Our goal is to reach them and show them the Truth patiently and calmly. If they are irritated or angry, we must not be. If they oppose the Truth, we are still obligated to show it to them calmly. If they are slow to see it, we are not to become weary or impatient. Even if they do not embrace it at all, we are not to become angry with them, and denounce them. We may feel sorry for them for not having eyes to see the Truth, but we are not to insult them, humiliate them or use harsh words with them. This counsel is not just acceptable but also wise. It will render us more effective.

My question is:  How are we going to convince those who oppose the Truth of their error if we have the wrong attitude and enter into harsh and ugly contentions?  They will not yield to the Truth easily if you make it more difficult by your harsh attitude. That is why meekness and gentleness are two vital keys here, if we truly wish to convince them that they are wrong.  After all that we have done to teach and correct those who are in error, we can never be sure that they will see their error. Much depends upon their seeking heart and their willingness to repent and accept the Truth.

We must refuse to let the little things become the major ones.
"For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil."  Romans 14:15-16.  

We must focus on the weightier matters of God's will rather than being distracted by the trivial worries and concerns of our daily walk.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others."  Matthew 23:23.  

Let us meditate on this!  Let us spend our time and focus on things that really matter: those that will give us salvation. Why not love and pray for them that God might take away the blindfold from their eyes so that they might see the Truth. We must love even when not loved in return.   
"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."'  Matthew 5:43-45.

But if they persist, mark them and stop associating with them:  "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them."  Romans 16:17.  Sadly, this a drastic measure we, the church, must take, when someone insists on walking in sin and error, hating all Truth.



III.  DIVISIVE BEHAVIOR

Let us consider four important elements that can damage and destroy relationships causing seeds of discord and ugly divisions among us, the body of Christ, His church:  

  • Unrighteous and Godless Judgment:   
Are we, Christians, supposed to judge one another? Let us consider a few texts that would point us both ways. Let us first focus on those verses that exhort us not to judge:  
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you."  Matthew 7:1-5  
"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven."  Luke 6:37 
"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son."  John 5:22 
"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself."  I Corinthians 4:3 
"Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God."  I Corinthians 4:5  

All this being said about not judging, let us look at some other passages that point in the other direction: that we should judge:  
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."  John 7:24   
In I Corinthians 5:12-6:7, we read how the church should judge all matters pertaining to life involving everyone in the church. "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?" I Corinthians 5:12
"Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?"  I Corinthians 6:3  

So the question is:  How does one judge righteous judgment rather than godless judgment? Should we judge at all?  YES, but we must use good judgment or discernment as taught in Scripture; taking into consideration what the Word of God, the Bible, has to say on all matters. This of course requires us to study what Matthew 7:1-5 says in context.
 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."'  

As Christians we must exercise righteous judgment within the local congregation.  All mature Christians must discern (judge) both good and evil. We must discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not.
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch."  Malachi 4:1.

Lest we forget, there is going to be a final day of judgment where our Creator, our God, will pass final judgment. In Psalm 119:138 we read, "You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness." What that means is that we are to make judgments that are in perfect harmony with the Word of God as stated in John 7:24.

Let us keep in mind what Jesus said about judging righteous judgment in order to maintain harmony and get along with one another. We must stop using godless judgment.   Let us not violate our Lord's command of Matthew 7:1-5; John 5:30 and John 7:24.  Let us not fail our Lord by not obeying and keeping His commands.

In Romans 14:10, "Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God."  We are reminded about judging our brother. Lest we forget, one day we are going to all stand before the Judge of ALL men, both great and small, "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:12.  The Almighty is going to measure you and me and we are going to give an account of everything that we have done before Him. He will judge us the way we have judged others. He is going to measure you and me by the standard by which we have measured others.  
 "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy.  Mercy triumphs over judgment."  James 2:13.  

In the end, this is the judgment that really matters.

Let us start pointing the finger at ourselves first rather than the failings of others.  Let us start attending to the weightier issues of our own.  Ultimately, both we and they will stand before the Judge of ALL and He will make His final judgments.  Let us then purpose in our hearts to grant mercy, kindness and long-suffering in our dealing with others.  Let us judge righteously and not be condemned for using godless judgment.  


  • Gossip and Slander:  
"The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts."  Proverbs 26:22.
"To speak evil of no man, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all meekness toward all men."  Titus 3:2

The Bible defines this terrible illness of the heart and seed of discord as accusatory speech that it is intended to harm a person's name and reputation. It is like committing a crime against someone’s character. Sadly, one major component in this sin is that in both cases the person is ignorant of the situation. These talebearers often avoid speaking directly to the one they are demeaning and intending to harm. 

Did you know we find this word in the New Testament 33 times?  Jesus said:
"You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  John 8:44.  

It is sad that many who are called Christians speak as the devil. Satan is called the accuser, Revelation 12:10.  It is he who accused Job, Job 1:9-11.  My question is:  Are you taking the role as the accuser of our brethren along with the devil?  He loves to come into our heart and into our thoughts to accuse others unjustly. We have the choice to reject those thoughts and accusations. Let us be careful and not fall into the snares of the devil. This is a serious sin and we must repent or we will die eternally. The danger is not just in speaking these accusations but also in receiving them into our hearts and minds. We are still bearing false witness in our hearts. Take heed and do not sin!

Let us be careful, when judging, not to assume that we know the truth when in fact we really do not know it. Let us not take God's place just like Satan has tried since the beginning.  Lest we forget, by speaking these accusations against one another, we are speaking evil against our brethren
"Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?"  James 4:11-12.

It seems to me that most people who love to spread gossip never realize that with this evil behavior they are engaging in slander as well. Gossip and slander violate the Lord's own Precepts and Truth.  If you want God to extend mercy to you, you must start granting that same mercy to others by not gossiping and slandering them.

Let us be on the alert and recognize Satan's evil ways. He is called the accuser of the brethren. Let us consider some of the signs of a spirit of accusation:
  • Always being suspicious of others. 
  • Having bitterness in our hearts toward others. 
  • Being easily offended without a cause. 
  • Having envy and jealousy toward others.
  • Always believing the worst about others. 
  • Always exaggerating the offenses of others. 
  • Always judging godlessly rather than righteously. 
  • Holding people accountable because of their past failures. 
  • Imposing our scruples as standards for others. 
  • Using others as a scapegoat. 
  • Pressing down on someone so that we might look better. 
  • Taking skeletons out of the closet.  
  • Not being satisfied with someone else's confession of sin and sorrow.  

All this being said, let us always remember that gossip and slander are destructive, Prov. 18:8, 26:22.  Gossip and slander are compared to poison that, once one drinks it, he just cannot get it out of his system. The damage is enormous!  It destroys people's relationships, separating them forever.  Let us be aware that one of Satan's tactics that he uses to destroy the church is gossip and slander. YES, Satan is using the mouth of those who claim to be Christians to tear down the church.  He is using this to cause strife within the body.  He is using this to steal the peace. My  question is:  Are we doing Satan's work for him?  Let us carefully examine our hearts.
"This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth."   I John 1:5-6.  

Let us look closely at our walk and see if we are walking in the Light or walking in darkness. Walking in darkness is using our tongues to hurt, destroy and cause divisions among God's children. God hates this, Prov. 6:16-19.  Gossip and slander as well as other sins of the tongue (which I will mention later) are all sins that come from our hearts and manifest themselves with our mouths. Let us take heed to God's admonitions.
"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!"   Psalm 141:3.  
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."  Psalm 19:14.

May our speech to others and about others be in accord with the apostle’s words.
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."  Ephesians 4:29-32.  

Are there any corrupt words coming out of your mouth whose intention is to tear down another, leaving them without any hope? Are the words coming out of your mouth edifying another?  Let us take to heart the words of the apostle Paul.

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."  Titus 3:1-2.

Let us search deep into the Word of God because it is full of wisdom that teaches us how we ought to behave as children of God who are worthy of Him.   


  • Railing and Backbiting:  
"Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?"  James 4:11-12 

This is another illness of the heart closely associated with gossip and slander. In some translations of the Bible railing is known as reviling, blaspheming and speaking evil. These two words railing and backbiting mean to speak evil about another one. Unfortunately, this is always done behind the other person's back.  Many times their statements are exaggerated with a negative intention.

Again, those who profess to be followers of Christ must continually examine their hearts and their speech to see what is coming out. This is serious! Why not ask yourselves if the statement you are making about the other person is something you would want to say if that person were present.  So, why be a backbiter and speak evil of one another if we would not have the courage to speak these bad things in front of them? Why speak evil behind someone's back?  This is evil!  God will judge you in the end.  

Notice that the Bible calls of evil speaking “unrighteousness.”
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."  I Corinthians 6:9-10. 

Do you think it is acceptable to our Father in heaven if you are neither homosexual nor a thief, nor a drunkard and yet you dare to speak evil of others?  Maybe in your eyes you are not guilty of those sins and you are better than they, but remember that in the eyes of our heavenly Father you are not. He calls you an evil doer, unrighteous.  So, you are as unrighteous as they are according to this Scripture with your evil and blasphemous mouth and will not inherit the kingdom of God if you do not repent of this practice!

Let us imitate our Lord and Savior as the perfect example.
"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly."  I Peter 2:21-23.  

Instead of Jesus speaking evil of those who unmercifully crucified Him, He prayed for them.
"And Jesus said,  Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' And they cast lots to divide his garments."'  Luke 23:34.  

So my question is, What are you doing when others come against you either in word or deed?  Is your immediate reaction to speak evil to others about what they did or are doing to you? Are you praying for them like Jesus our Lord did?   Let us take heed and not lose our salvation! 

Imagine what a blessing it would be if all of us were to pray for one another rather than putting each other down and speaking evil about them to others!  It would probably be like this:
"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing."  I Peter 3:8-9. 

Do you know that when we bless others with our godly behavior, we in return are being blessed? This is called the law of reaping, Galatians 6:7. 
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." 
So my question is:  What seeds are you sowing out of your mouth in the kingdom of Christ? Are you sowing seeds of blessings or cursings? What are you harvesting?  Let us meditate taking to heart what James had to say to us.
"But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so."  James 3:8-10  

As the body of Christ, we must be a blessing to others when using our mouths. We are not to curse or speak evil about others with the intention of harming them. YES, even when they seem to deserve it! If blessings are not what is going to come out of our mouths, let us then keep a seal on it and instead pray for them. This is what our God demands of us!

Another question I have is:  How about grumbling and murmuring about others?  Is this not also sowing seeds of discord among us?  James also wrote:
"Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door."  James 5:9.  

Are you aware that you are condemning yourself when you complain about others? 

This comes back to the law of sowing and reaping, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."  Galatians 6:7.  Let us not forget that when we grumble about others, we are sitting in the judgment seat behaving as the Judge rather than letting the true Judge, judge others.  Why not turn the other cheek and let the Word of God, His Law, correct them with righteous judgment 
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you."  Matthew 7:1-2.  

Thanks be to God, we have a God Who does not grumble or complain and Who is longsuffering about our shortcomings.  A God who is merciful and patient with us, His children.  Always waiting for us to repent and correct our crooked ways.
"Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door." 

Are we condemning ourselves when we grumble or speak evil about others? Why not pray for them? Why not help them to be built up and rooted in the faith, helping them overcome their weaknesses and shortcomings? Let us be wise and use righteous judgment!

  • Unforgiveness:  
"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions."   Mark 11:25 
"Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."   Col. 3:13  

 The sin of unforgiveness will eventually cost our souls, sending us to hell. Not only will it destroy our soul for eternity, but it will also destroy all relationships within the body of Christ, leaving us bitter and condemned.  My question is then:

  1. What is not forgiveness?  
  2. Is it ignoring all those who have wronged us? 
  3. Is it more than a refusal to strike someone, blow for blow or tooth for tooth? 
  4. Is it ignoring or indulging in sin?  

In Luke 17:3 Jesus said rebuke, not ignore, "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him."  Is it putting the one who offends us on probation? Forgiveness is doing exactly what God does when He forgives us.   He removes all wrong doings from His record.
"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19.   

He forgets, erasing it out of His memory.
"For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” Heb. 8:12. 

And He treats us, His children, the same way as He treated us before we have sinned.  He receives us back sincerely and completely.

How do we know we have forgiven someone who has wronged us?

  1. Simply by not rejoicing when he, the offender, has any kind of misfortune. 
  2. By not avoiding his presence. 
  3. By not intimidating him and speaking harshly to him. 
  4. By not remembering constantly the wrong committed. 
  5. By praying for him before the Father on his behalf. 
  6. By doing good and not evil to him, the offender.  

This being said, let us take to heart the importance of forgiving one another. Why?
  • Because God demands it in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, Mark 11:25; Col. 3:13; Rev. 22:14; John 14:15.
  • Because Our Lord and Savior has left us an example, Luke 23:34; I Pet. 2:21-22; Phil. 2:5.
  • Because of the example demonstrated by the disciples, the early church, Acts 7:60.
  • Because love demands it, I Cor. 13:4; I Peter 4:8.
  • Because we have been forgiven much, Eph. 4:32; Matt. 18:23-35.
  • Because we need to forgive in order to be forgiven by the Father, Matt. 6:12,14,15; Mk. 11:25.
  • Because it is the only way to be able to walk with God, Amos 3:3.
  • Because it is the only way to have complete fellowship with Him, I John 1:7.
  • Because we will be judged and we never know when Christ will come to do it, Mk. 13:32.   It is imperative that we do not delay it.
  • Because in the last day we do not want to be found wicked because of an unforgiving heart: a heart that is filled with ill will, resentment, bitterness and most importantly unforgiveness.  
So, the question is, how can we learn to sow seeds of forgiveness?
  • By remembering that hatred, ill will, bitterness and unforgiveness does more harm to the hater than anyone else.
  • By being grateful considering how greatly you have been forgiven without deserving it.
  • By asking God's help through prayer.
  • By praying for your offender.
  • By speaking words of grace and kindness about our offender toward others.
  • By developing an understanding and loving  heart.
  • By extending the same grace and compassion that has been granted to us, Matt. 5:7; Jas. 2:13; Matt. 18:33.  

My questions is, how often must I forgive?  
"Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'  Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22  
 Who must take the initiative in forgiving?  The offender, Matt. 5:23-24?  The offended one, Matt. 18:15-17?  Both need to take the initiative, meet halfway and reconcile. This is doing God's will. There is no other WAY.

How can we make it possible to forgive?  
  • By not being thin-skinned. 
  • By not being offended easily, I Cor. 13:5.  
  • By dying to self and living by the Spirit and imitating Christ in us."
Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.'"  Luke 17:3-4
"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions."  Marks 11:25 

Let us not slip up and lose our souls eternally with a heart that is filled with hate, ill will, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness.

IV.  LET US BE PEOPLE BUILDERS

Our main goal must be that of striving to be a people builder in our relationships with others.  What does that mean then?

Let us meditate on the words of Paul:
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."  Ephesians 4:29-32

Do you know that when we talk to others about others we are harming them with our words? So why say harmful things?  Be discrete and say what is necessary and needed for the edification.  Let us speak words that will help them become stronger Christians. Let us not grow bitter and angry or mad. Let us not shout in an angry manner. Let us not say things to hurt another that we will soon have to regret and repent of. Why not be kind and loving to each other? Why not forgive each other as God forgave us through His Son?  Let us encourage others with our words.  Let us inspire others with our well-seasoned words. You might be surprised how your words of encouragement toward someone else can turn and change their lives for good.

Remember always, that you could be the only person someone else might hear an encouraging word from.  Let us purpose in our heart to always give one. Let us labor intensely to build one another up within the body of Christ.

So often brethren are like coals in fire. It is in clinging together that we are going to keep the flame burning. Sadly, if we separate from one another, we die out. We should not!  We must not!  We cannot allow the precious church that our Lord purchased with His own blood to suffer division!


CONCLUSION:

Let us put all of the inadequate and handicapped lives alongside the lives of others and let us not neglect to pray to make the church pull together.

"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."  Philippians 1:27 

Let us not fall into the snares of Satan to destroy the church sowing seeds of discord among us. This is one of SATAN'S number one tactics to tear down the church. And let us use all of the weapons that God has given us to build His church.  Let us take to heart these precious words:
"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away."  I Cor. 13:4-8.
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  Phil. 4:8
"O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?  He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend."  Psalm 15:1-3

May the Lord help us to walk together as the family of Christ so that we might reach HEAVEN as our home.


Luci

I leave you with the sentiments of the sacred melody "Angry Words! O Let Them Never"

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.

Refrain
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. [Refrain]

Angry words are lightly spoken,
Bitterest thoughts are rashly stirred,
Brightest links of life are broken,
By a single angry word. [Refrain]


(Please, feel free to share this study along with my other studies with your friends and loved ones).