Have You Been Evil Spoken of?

Matthew 12:3
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh

Many of us, as Christians, have experienced the hurt and pain of having our good be evil spoken of or having had lies told about us to slander our character. People have taken our words that we have spoken out of a pure heart and twisted them to malign our testimony. Truly it is said, “that the power of death and life are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).” Perhaps there is no greater force on earth than words. Words can be a powerful force for either life or death. Perhaps one of the greatest weapons satan has ever formed against righteousness is twisted, crafty and perverted words. With words Adam and Eve accepted the cunning lie and deception of satan that brought all of humanity into the bondage of sin. Other than physically slaying someone there is nothing more powerful and destructive to the human spirit and soul than hurtful words.
As we look back over the course of the history of the Bible and God’s people we can see example after example where the enemy came in through those yielded to him and sought to use words to undermine and destroy the work of God. What are some of the fruit of the flesh? Galatians 5:20-21 says, “idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God (NLT).” So many find their expression through words. What is even more alarming and sad is that not only does the world want to speak evil of us it is often those whom we have considered our brothers and sisters in Christ that stab us in the back and tear us down before others. Psalms 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up [his] heel against me.” Who can hurt us more than family or a dear friend? As you read through the Psalms you will see this hurt and the unjust evil done toward David a prevalent theme. A key we find here is that he was dealing first with it in his prayer closet. Moses was nearly stoned and rebelled against on many occasions through the slanderous words that stirred up the people against him. The New Testament holds many accounts through which Christians were beaten, plundered and killed because of evil words spoken against them. Then we have our greatest example, our Lord Jesus, who through the unjust words and judgements of men was condemned, beaten and crucified. That is why Jesus calls the Jewish leaders in our key text a “generation of vipers”. If there is poison in the heart, there will be poison in the tongue and out of an evil heart men will speak evil things. I believe there is a general principle that the more power, wealth or influence you possess the more subject you may be to these attacks, as many of them arise out of envy, selfish ambition and jealousy, but it can happen to any of us.
What do I do when someone has crushed my heart with hurt and disappointment, as well as seeking to ruin my reputation before men? Psalm 41:11-13, “By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever. Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” In Matthew 5:44-45 Jesus declares, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” I guess it can be said that this sort of thing goes with the territory. Our greatest defense is prayer where we can share our heart and our hurt with the Father, forgiveness of those who have hurt you and the love of God toward even your enemies. Our greatest danger is to fall into like tactics of gossip, slander and other devices, we could well feel justified in using if we are in the flesh. Just maintain your integrity. Bring everything into the light and full disclosure, if you are wrong or at fault in any way, confess it and repent of it. Give no place to the devil by hiding anything in the darkness. That is where he does his best work. Be careful about trying to justify yourself, which is our natural tendency. Weigh what you say and do before the Lord and be led of the Spirit before you speak concerning these issues.
This is a spiritual thing and we can all easily get caught up in the snare of gossiping, backbiting and storytelling. Avoid conversation and fellowship with those who are critical and faultfinding. Let your tongue speak good and blessing for the Word says we are “to speak evil of no man” (Titus 3:2).
God is our vindication and our justification. Don’t take the hurtful wounding words and divisiveness into your spirit. Give it to the Lord. Your life and your testimony will speak for itself. Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Blessings,
kent

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How We Perceive Others

March 7, 2013

Philippians 4:8-9

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.9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

How We Perceive Others

As I was spending time with Papa this morning this scripture came to mind and how it can pertain to how we see others, how we see and relate to one another as fellow believers and how we see those in the world around us.

As a Christian culture I think a lot of the world has an image of Christians as being the sin police, self-righteous, condemning, fault-finding, intolerant and often hypocritical. What they see so readily in others that don’t seem to see in themselves. They are quick to see the sin and faults in others while conveniently overlooking their own. Even among Christians I have seen how quickly brothers and sisters can take up an offense with one another and instead practicing forgiveness, long-suffering and forbearance, they hold grudges, speak evil of the other and only see them after the flesh or the fault that they perceive that defines that person in their mind.

2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” I believe what the Word is teaching us is that God doesn’t want us to be seeing and judging out or natural mind and thinking. He wants us to see Christ and others after the Spirit, even as He sees us. If God had only seen humanity from humanities’ point of view He would have destroyed us a long time ago, but even with all our sins and faults He saw something redeemable in us, because He saw past our faults and saw our need; so much so that He was willing give us His only Son to die for our sins and become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. If God was that willing to see beyond our sin, faults, failures and offences, don’t you think He wants us to do the same for others around us? Don’t you think He wants us, not to focus on their negatives and all the things we can find wrong with them, but to focus their spirit and who they can be in Christ. We do that by practicing this scripture: “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.” Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. He didn’t come with a stick, but with a cross. He laid down His life so that others could succeed where once they had failed. He saw us for what we could be and how He could transform our lives as we gave them to Him, not as in the mess that He found us. He saw beyond our flesh into our spirit where His image and likeness resides and said, “I am going to bring that back to Myself no matter what the cost.” Do we have that heart for others? Do we even have it for one another? Are we so focused on the faults and shortcoming of others that we can’t see their good and potential or have we already written them off as not living up to our standard, a standard that we probably don’t even live up too.

Grace, which God has given us, doesn’t hold on to wrongs, offenses, disappointments and failures, it is willing to put those under the blood of Jesus and move on. When we are unwilling to do that with others then we are living under the law and not under grace. Unforgiveness puts us again under the law of condemnation and we are then judged by the same law that we judge others. That is why the Jesus says, ‘judge not lest you be judged and with the same judgment that you administer to others you will be judged by the same standard.’ You see, living under unforgiveness and judgment is no longer living under grace. Grace says, “even though you may not deserve it, I forgive you. Even though you disappointed me, I forgive you. Even though you didn’t live up to my standards and perceptions, I forgive you. Even though you failed me and offended me, I forgive you. When you free others through that kind of forgiveness, you not only set them free, you set yourself free.

God is wanting us to see the best in one another, not the worst. We all fail. We all have chinks in our armor. We are all cracked pots and broken vessels, but the love of God is the glue that fixes all of that. When we walk by Spirit in His love then we see others in the light of how He sees us, redeemable, forgivable and worth saving. It is not about our personal preferences, opinions or values. Those are different for every person and not everyone is going to fit in your box. That means your love has to be outside of the box. It has to be more than human love. It has to be His love. In His love we can give to others the same grace that He has so freely given to us. We can begin to see the good in others, rather than just their faults and all of the things we don’t care for. We can use the Word of God to heal rather than to just cut and maim. We can love even the unlovely, because that certainly is how God found us. All God asks of us is that we are willing to give to others what He has given to us. If He forgave our debts which were so many how can we not forgive others whose debts are so few?

When you look at others, in or out of the body of Christ then see them after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even what they are now, might not be what they can be and are becoming. Only God has a right to set in the judgment seat and before Him alone we stand or fall. Look for the truth, the honorable thing, for what is right, what is pure, what is lovely and of good report. Look for the excellence and that which is praiseworthy. Any fault finder can find faults, but it takes one whose eyes are fixed on the positive to always see the good. Find the best in people and not the worst. It is far more edifying and reaps much greater benefits. Let us be that expression of Christ to one another and to those without the household of God.
Blessings,
kent

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