Last week, I started this series on the bondage of sin that is weighing down the body of Christ today. I want to clarify that this series is not meant to criticize or condemn the body of Christ. The Lord is leading me to warn and inform of the dangers of sin, and open the door for His Holy Spirit to convict where necessary. Condemnation is from the devil to pull us deeper into sin. Conviction is from God to turn us to Him so He can lift us out of sin.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
This week, I want to focus on slander. There is so much slander going on in the church today, particularly toward our own brothers and sisters in Christ. Have you noticed whenever a well-known preacher messes us, we are the first ones in line to throw a stone at them?
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
God humbled me once when I joined in on an online discussion to criticize a famous preacher for saying something unbiblical on National television. God humbled me by directing me to King David when Saul was pursuing to kill him. Even though Saul was clearly not obedient to God, David wouldn’t lift his hand or mouth against him because he was God’s anointed.
He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul …
1 Samuel 24:6-7
God has the power to bring down the disobedient. Our criticism doesn’t humble them. God has to humble them.
But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
I was once introduced to a woman who ran an online ministry. Shortly after following her ministry, it became apparent that her focus was to hatefully slander the body of Christ. During one of her hateful remarks toward the church, I felt led to humbly confront her. She responded harshly that she was called to rebuke the church and criticized me for not doing the same.
Criticism is not one of the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, 2 Timothy 2:16 warns us to “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (KJV).
My husband and I once left our church that we had belonged to since we started following Christ twelve years ago. We left because of the slander we heard from others toward several in leadership positions. After years of hearing about the ungodliness and worldliness in our church, it started to embitter our hearts.
We were gone for almost two years and then God called us to humbly return. During our time away, God worked in our hearts and helped us focus on the sin in our lives. As God was purifying my heart, I began to feel sympathy and love for my church. Once God removed the plank in my eyes, I was able to see how much the Lord was working in my church, and that many were obedient to God and filled with the Spirit, especially our Pastor. As I allowed God to work in me, I was able to sincerely love and help my brothers and sisters who were in bondage to sin, instead of feeling bitter toward them and abandoning them.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 Peter 1:22
As we continue to allow God to purify our hearts, and remove the sin in our lives, we can see clearly to help our brothers and sisters who are caught in sin. Criticizing and abandoning our brothers and sisters only causes more division in the body of Christ and pushes the world further away from Christ. Change in the body of Christ starts with you and me. We are responsible to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that He can work through us to bring unity and restoration in the church.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
We praise You that You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10). Your compassions never fail. They are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Help us to have the same compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are deceived and caught in Satan’s trap of sin. Cleanse our hearts and mouths so that we can speak Your truth in love to help set Satan’s captives free (2 Timothy 2:25-26). In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman.
*Come back next Monday as the “Sin Series” continues.