There is a different kind of fire
Not visible to the human eye
Yet it causes incalculable damage
Like a wildfire
Consuming everything in its path
So too the tongue…causes widespread destruction
Be it the match of gossip
Or the flame of criticism
Its devastation leaves victims wounded and hurt
It may be a reputation that lies in the rubble
Of lies and deceit
Suffocating its victim like a poisonous gas
It may be talk about those in authority
Causing dissension…leaving the foundation weak and exposed
Unable to withstand the heat
There is one fire prevention
Proven and true
That is to bring our tongue under the obedience of Christ
He alone can slay the arsonist
Whose weapon of choice is the tongue
The intended victim…a vulnerable human soul
Susan Bunts Wachtel
November 18, 2008
It seems no one is immune from the human condition of gossip and a critical spirit. Be it an unbeliever…who doesn’t know or care about what God says in His word. Or a new believer who is immature and still weak and vulnerable in this area of sin. It can even be seen in believers of many years. Those who have extensive knowledge of the word of God. They have a head knowledge that hasn’t yet worked its way down to change their heart.
How easy it is to choose to gossip…or speak our mind and share a critical negative spirit. It’s much harder to go to the person and share our concern. To get on our knees and pray instead of sharing that delectable bit of truth that no one else knows about. To choose insignificance rather than raise myself up by stepping on the reputation of another. To believe all things, hope all things…and dwell on that which is good, lovely, pure and of a good report.
There is only one winner in the game. His name is Satan. Gossip and a critical spirit bring reproach upon the body of Christ. It tears down everyone…from the person who speaks out to the one who is the topic of conversation.
I think that when we get to heaven…there will be tears shed. Not only will we cry when we see the hurt and devastation that our words brought to other’s lives. But we will weep when we know the eternal cost. Those who chose to turn their back and reject Christ because of the ugliness they saw in Christians. It’s not something that we can change after the fact or make better. When those words escape our lips…the match has been lit.
It only takes one time…when you’ve been on the receiving end of gossip to help you understand how hurtful it is. To know that others are speaking ill of you…believing half truths and outright lies. Once you’ve been on the receiving end…you don’t want to be a contributor or participant.
How will we feel when we stand before Jesus…and have to give an account for every idle word? He’ll know the intentions of our heart. All will be exposed.
Isn’t it better that right now…today…that we choose to listen to the reining in of the Holy Spirit. To pay attention when He tugs at our conscious. It’s it better that our words be few. To utter that which builds up and encourages…or speak the truth of God’s word in humility and love.
“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.”
Who will know you are a Christian by your love?