It’s as though Satan has sent forth an army of faultfinding demons against the church and they are just looking for bodies to be able to speak through and do the greatest amount of damage. How can we continually preach “unity” without a careful examination of one of the greatest devices that causes disunity in the church? It seems that the two most socially acceptable sins in the body of Christ are gossip and slander. Yet we know Jesus said His “Father’s House shall be called a House of Prayer,” not fault finding. At this time, it is clear the Father is taking out His giant yellow highlighter and highlighting this sin in the church. No one is exempt. May we all examine our hearts.
Another way to describe this kind of spirit is “the accuser of the brethren.” The purpose of this assault is to entice the body of Christ away from the perfection of Jesus and onto the imperfections of one another. Jesus was perfect in all His ways. We, however, are all in the process of being perfected…matured (growing up) and sanctified (transformed and purified). The Bible says Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, but He never sinned. And yet, consider this: No matter what Jesus did, the Pharisees found fault with Him. Wow…they couldn’t find one single thing He did right!
The enemy’s purpose in this assault against Jesus was to discredit the minister so it can discredit the message! It’s no different today. Oftentimes, judgmentalism, criticisms, and slander come about because they are rooted in the insecurities or jealousies of others, but at other times it is because of a lack of accurate understanding of the truth of God’s word. Wouldn’t it be more constructive to lovingly confront the individual we have a problem with rather than spreading our own opinions and judgments in the form of gossip and slander? Perhaps a greater understanding for all could be brought forth as a result.
We are not talking about those who need to be discredited―false teachers, false apostles, false prophets, or false brethren. We are warned about all of them in the Word of God. Clearly, we are not to stop discerning, examining, appraising, as well as testing the spirit behind the messenger or the message. So what are we to do with what we discern is wrong? There are biblical ways to bring correction that lead to healing and understanding, rather than slander (which amounts to character assassination) and is very difficult to recover from once the damage is done. The Bible tells us in Titus 3:2 and James 4:11 to speak evil of no one.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:15 to go to that person and him or her alone and address and attempt to work through any issues we may have. (We have not witnessed many instances where Christians take this directive seriously.) The key to success here is humility―on both the part of the one confronting and the one being confronted. Also, remember to layer any criticism you may have between two layers of encouragement and edification. It will much more likely be received if you do so. If the word of rebuke or correction is not seasoned with grace or doesn’t offer restoration, then it is not the voice of the gentle Holy Spirit. The end result, of course, depends on whether it is received or not, but it should always be offered.
The other response that pleases the Lord is when we pray for that person―rather than gossip and slander them behind their back. Our words about one another, as well as our words to one another should carry with them the same sense of reverence as when we speak with God. For He is indeed listening. We must possess the very heart of God toward our brethren and crucify our flesh that loves to gossip and slander.