Saturday, December 3, 2011

Just Wait ‘Till I Tell Them What You Did...

The predisposition to Tell or Tattle Tale on other people seems an indigenous part of human nature.

Nobody goes to school to learn how to tell tales on others. It comes naturally... and at a young age!

How often do you hear this coming from a group of young children:  “Oooh!  I’m TELLING!”

Comedians like Eddie Murphy have made millions mimicking that very behavior that seems to form the foundation of our human psyche.

And yet, this type of behavior goes contrary to the perfect will of God.

Or, to put it bluntly, it is sin.

Or, to just get plain real with it... GOD HATES THIS (see Proverbs 6:16-19) !

And you don’t want to do something that God hates, do you?

One of the reasons that God hates type of behavior is that it can kill you.

A man's [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
Proverbs 18:20-21 [AMP]

Years ago, when somebody pulled a gun on me after I had mouthed off... I realized that I needed to listen more, speak less, and pray always.

Not very long ago , I was working with a group of people, a couple of who considered themselves very devout Christians.

One of these individuals had a number of outward expressions of his religious faith.  His style of clothing... his grooming... all he believed to be taken from the Bible and presumably would make him closer to God.  Apparently he did not seem to want to get closer to other people... but that is another story.

The other individual expressed very conservative beliefs.  No socializing.  No fraternizing.  Just keep your nose down and do your job.

Both of these individuals worked with a group of drunken, cursing, blaspheming, fornicating heathens... yet their judgmental wrath seemed reserved for yours truly.  Granted, I believe that the true motivation for their attacks was a classic case of cronyism with a religious frosting (yum, religious frosting!).

The reality, however, is that I have seen more such attacks from people who profess a strong Christian background than from those who say they worship the devil or some other religion. One Christian brother spent so much time trying to find something about my work to criticize that he was four days behind in his own work.  And the person who strove to shield me from his attacks happened to be perhaps the biggest heathen in the organization.  Weird.

In another situation, a manager who allowed employees to decorate their workspaces with profane, vile and pornographic materials wanted to fire me for having my Bible on my desk.  And he, I was told, was a stalwart member of his congregation.


Some of you can begin to understand why the Lord directed me to write the book, Please Don’t Feed the Atheists. Not that I am so concerned about Christians picking on me.  But what does concern me is the atheists’ reaction to behavior that goes in the extreme opposite direction of Jesus’s greatest commandment:

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].
John 13:34-35 [AMP]

Getting back to the topic of doing things that God is pleased with and not doing things that God hates; the scriptures  make it clear that there are behaviors that please the Lord.  For example:

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Hebrews 11:6 [AMP]

So, faith (which, according to Galatians 5:6 [AMP], is activated and energized and expressed and works by way of love) is something that pleases God.  So then, if there are things that please God, then conversely, there are things that God hates.  Specifically:

These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.
Proverbs 6:16-19 [AMP]

Proverbs 6:16-19 delineates seven things that God hates. You can listen to a full study of these things by listening to our free audio teaching entitled, The Things That God Hates. But our specific focus is on the parts highlighted in red above:
  • A proud look
  • A lying tongue
  • A false witness who breathes lies
  • He who sows discord among his brothers in Christ
Let’s be honest... cutting others down is an act of pride.  

If you are threatened by how good Sally Ann looks in her new dress, you might say words to tear her down in the eyes of the other ladies in your fellowship.

The proud look overestimates our own value while underestimating the value of others.

It is what causes people to say, “How can you call yourself a Christian... the way that you (fill in the blank).”

The concept of a Christian being a forgiven sinner who is living on a constant supply of God’s mercy is often rejected (except, naturally, during those times when we need to apply that concept to our personal lives.

The lying tongue and false witness who breathes lies come from the same Hebrew word, “sheqer” which is:

an untruth; by implication a sham.  It is deceitful, false, and a vain thing that has no justification or cause. 

Sowing discord, strife, or contentions between people is what drama is all about.  Not just real-life drama, but also fictional drama.  A movie or television program that does not have conflict will not have viewers.

Think about it.  You don’t watch a procedural to see police officers sitting around the station house eating doughnuts and drinking coffee, do you?  No... you watch to see a bad guy do some heinous thing and then have the detectives find that guy, beat him (or her) down, and then incarcerate them.

Hey... you think that is what God will do to those who cause this level of drama in the lives of their Christian brothers and sisters?  Stand them before His judgement seat and... hmm...

Thoraf Gilbrant and his team wrote the following about this sort of person:

This sort of person not only damages human relationships, but thereby reveals his hatred of God and His covenant, especially of the basic covenantal obligation to love one’s neighbor (Leviticus 19:18, 33f) that underlies more than half of the basic commandments (cf. Deuteronomy 5:16-21). Those who seek to destroy others are therefore not only condemned by those whose lives they attack, but by God himself (v.16), Who hates their way of life (vv. 17ff) and the attitudes that underlie it (v. 14).
After describing the arrogance that leads them to use any means, even violence, Solomon warns that the real problem is not behavior (damaging as that is), but the attitude of the heart. Their hatred grows out of self-centered arrogance that sees others as tools to be used or discarded, and cannot bear to see happiness or love in those whom it despises. A heart that seeks the misery of others will do anything at all to accomplish its ends, as those poems show.

Granted, all seven of those things that God hates (as indicated above) overlap to a degree... considering that they are the fruit of a person who is not walking in love but, rather, hates his brother (and also God).  Still, our primary emphasis this week is on taming our tongues.

When I recounted those earlier experiences of mine, you might have wondered to yourself, “Now what exactly did Brotha DC do?”

Well, I did avoid the temptation to retaliate.  A little.  But when the pressure persisted... I eventually caved.  :-(

However, I did make the effort to remain  in a position of forgiveness towards those who had hurt me.

And, of course, when I got to the point where I was ready to cuss someone out... we went to 1 John 1:9 and repented, turning around from that path and continuing to walk along the path architected for us by Christ.

But why do people judge others... even to the point of making up lies?  Perhaps it could be if one doesn’t express their faith in the exact same way that they do.

I recall being attacked by a Christian who didn’t believe in handing out tracts... he felt that soul winning should be strictly personal, not printed.  Well, I respected his belief... but it was difficult convincing him I did not want to argue about it. Our time would be better spent winning souls and not arguing.

Another colleague wanted to argue with me that we should use the Hebrew name Yeshua to refer to our Lord and not the English derivation of Jesus.  Again, not something I want to waste time fighting over.  From my perspective, if you call upon Him sincerely, regardless of what language you speak... you shall be saved.

In the situation where I received the proud look... the lying tongue... false witness about my job performance and personal ethics... and the end result was discord that resulted in my losing an awesome job.  Granted, the most awesome job I have is loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind.  And NOBODY can get me fired from God’s employ.  God don’t listen to your gossip.  He knows all anyway... not just the conjecture but the intricate details.Still... I found it rather confusing when those who should have been brothers in Christ came across as my enemies.

Of course, God has his hand in every situation.  And, when opportunities came to throw my misbehaving colleagues under the bus, I followed the instructions of the Holy Spirit to keep my mouth shut (well, maybe I didn’t keep it 100% shut) and to pray for those who persecuted me, in accordance with Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:28.  And, yes, I did repent when my lips failed to stay completely sealed.

But that incident is also a reminder for all of us to keep in mind what our religion is truly about.  Is it about spending a requisite amount of time with our butts touching a church pew?  Is it about dressing a certain way?  Is it about pronouncing your words while dipping your diphthongs?  Is it about fasting a certain number of meals, or reading a certain number of chapters of the Bible or not watching movies or not chewing gum or not dancing or...

What is religion truly about?

If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person's religious service is worthless (futile, barren). External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.
James 1:26-27 [AMP]

True religion is the practice of doing those things that Jesus did: visiting, helping and caring for those who are afflicted and in need.  AND, to stay away from the filth of this world (ref. those things that God hates).  AND, to bridle your tongue!

I was thinking about an incident that happened to me many ears ago. I was a teenager, attending university. In the town where I matriculated, there were liquor stores on just about every corner. And those stores sold more than just beer, wine and distilled spirits. They sold milk, snacks, and newspapers. It was a common thing for people to go in and out of those establishments for anything from a pack of cigarettes to a pack of chewing gum.

I was confronted by a young lady at the church I was attending at the time. She accused me of being a backslider... or worse. She saw me go into the, gasp, liquor store!


She also saw me exit that same store. And she admitted that I was not carrying any bottles, cans or containers... just a copy of that day’s newspaper.

When she realized that she had not caught me in some type of sin, she walked away sorrowful...

What that young lady forgot... and what most of us often seem to forget... is that what we perceive is not always what we are seeing.

AND, even more importantly, whether it is or whether it ain’t someone sinning... our obligation is to make prayers and supplications with intercession for them... not to spread gossip to tear down their character.

Quite often, what people see or hear is filtered by what some social researchers call paradigms.  For example:

An employee may be deep in thought about an innovation that could make the company billions.  But, all the boss sees is somebody sleeping or daydreaming at their desk.  Women in the church may see a young hussy trying to steal their husbands while in reality a young woman brought herself a new outfit trying to raise her downcast or depressed spirit... not for the purpose of catching anyone's eye.

A prime example of this is the typical automobile accident. Two cars collide... and two drivers tell differing (and, often, diametrically opposed) versions of what happened.  As Philadelphian TV personality Wally Kennedy used to say, you ask fifty people what happened and you will get fifty answers. However... those vehicles did not back up and crash into each other fifty times in fifty different ways. The danger, then, is taking one’s incomplete picture and making it into an absolute truth (when, in fact, it is not).

The Pharisees accused Jesus and His disciples of being unlawful for doing something (in their opinion) on the wrong day of the week.  Check this out:

AT THAT particular time Jesus went through the fields of standing grain on the Sabbath; and His disciples were hungry, and they began to pick off the spikes of grain and to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, See there! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful and not permitted on the Sabbath. He said to them, Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, and those who accompanied him-- How he went into the house of God and ate the loaves of the showbread--which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for the men who accompanied him, but for the priests only? Or have you never read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple violate the sanctity of the Sabbath [breaking it] and yet are guiltless? But I tell you, Something greater and more exalted and more majestic than the temple is here! And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord [even] of the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:1-8 [AMP]

God does not want us being Judge Mental... 50% judge and 50% mental.  And if someone is judging you, check this final scripture out from the Apostle Paul:

Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on and censure another's household servant? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master (the Lord) is mighty to support him and make him stand. One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike [sacred]. Let everyone be fully convinced (satisfied) in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for] If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord. For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise]. And so each of us shall give an account of himself [give an answer in reference to judgment] to God. Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.
Romans 14:3-13 [AMP]

This Weeks Homework

  1. Let us watch our mouths...
  2. Let us exercise the process of watching our mouths...
  3. And, as God reveals things that you may of done that He hates... or things you failed to do that would please Him... REPENT!

Want to go Deeper?

Our long-form audio teaching The Things That God Hates is available for on-line listening... free of charge.

For immediate access, click The Things That God Hates and enjoy!

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