As much as I would like to change today’s topic, it’s something the Lord just hasn’t let out of my mind ALL week! While I would normally prefer to keep Sunday’s as encouraging and uplifting – THIS is where the Lord has had me – and I feel led to share.
It’s long – sorry!! I try to be brief, really I do. But as I wrote in my post the other day, this is also a journal for me, and my daughter(s) one day. This is an important lesson that God is teaching me right now, and I want my little girl to know how the Lord has worked in my life!
In our church service last week, one of the men got up and read a verse. At the time, I was struggling with little ones, trying to keep them quiet and still, so I only heard (in a deep sense) part of what he said. His point was that we weren’t supposed to speak evil of anyone! It stayed in my mind, but then as I was reading through some of the great blogs on the Ultimate Blog Party list (picking out “Sister” sites), I came across the verse again!
What struck me Sunday, at that time, was when he mentioned that we aren’t even supposed to speak evil of our leaders – even if they are not in line with our beliefs! Sure, there’s always something I can find to say negative about the decisions being made in our state and country – but is that what God says I should do? He then continued on to share how we’re aren’t supposed to speak evil of ANYONE, in gossip or using prayer requests to ‘share’ our thoughts.
Well, while there’s more than one verse… We were on Acts 23 – I’m sharing several.
Psalms 34:13 – “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.”
Hmmm… this verse doesn’t give room for sometimes speaking evil. How many times this week have I spoken ‘evil’ of DH’s boss – hubby isn’t allowed any time off before the baby to help give me a break….
Thankfully, the Lord DOES keep bringing to mind that I shouldn’t be complaining about all the time DH is gone working, but should be GRATEFUL that he has a job and is willing to work to support our family!
Acts 23:5 – “Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
For it is written! This means that GOD said it in the Bible! It’s not something that we can pick and choose depending on if we agree with who our rulers are, or if we agree with them.
So what do we do with all the frustrations we have towards ‘bad’ rulers? We are to bring them before the Lord – interceding in prayer. Remember the verse about the Lord being able to change hearts?
God has ALLOWED the rulers we have – yes, you read right – GOD Himself has all authority, and no one has authority except God gives it to them. While we might not understand, it’s all a part of God’s plan. Looking at it this way, when we speak evil of rulers, we are not only criticizing them, but God and His plan! Ouch!
Ephesians 4:31 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”
Put it away! Remember the verse (paraphrased) – “Whatsoever things are lovely… pure… of good report – if there be any virtue, any praise – think on these things. If we are speaking in bitterness and anger, evil of another – are we following these verses?
What does it profit when our hearts are full of anger and bitterness – except degrade others and make us angrier and more bitter? Really, I struggle with this at times still. There are times when I get upset by others, and thankfully the Lord takes those times from me quickly – though sometimes lasting several days to a week.
Honestly, I’m miserable during that time. My heart isn’t focused on the Lord, my eyes aren’t on Him. I’m full of resentment, my mind racing to ‘how I can get them’. It’s taken YEARS for me to finally grow enough that the Lord allows me to use self-control to avoid things that I would later regret. Not to say I don’t still falter at times though – I’m not perfect!
But even this week, it came to my attention that something I had spoken to DH about YEARS and YEARS ago in anger and hurt, STILL is in his mind today! I cannot tell you how this broke my heart when he shared this with me, I was crying inside, until I made it to the bathroom to really cry.
While the statement from the past WAS true, it was full of anger and bitterness, and had deeply hurt my husband. The Lord was gracious to begin to restore this – as we stayed up late into the night sharing with one another our feelings.
It wasn’t an easy conversation – for either of us – but it was such a blessing. For a long time, I felt like I didn’t matter to him at times, only to now find out it was because of a few words that I had spoken. I was able to share with him how I’ve felt, but also that I completely understood where he was coming from. I now have a lot of effort to put into restoring that hurt in his heart.
BUT – the good news – my husband is SO much like the Lord now. Where at one time he would’ve gotten angry, closed his ears and heart – he now is caring and sensitive to my needs as well. He was able to share his feelings of hurt, but still be there just to hold me and let me cry. This has been the biggest blessing in our marriage – seeing the Lord change who he was into a man of Godly character. He truly treats me as himself – esteeming others higher than himself.
Okay – long, but I had to share!!
James 4:11– “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”
This is the verse to be careful of! I can see 100% where the man Sunday was coming from – regarding gossip and using a ‘prayer request’ as a way of getting around this verse. Are we placing ourselves in a PERFECT light while degrading others? There are NO times that it is acceptable to speak evil of and judge another’s works, words, or actions.
BUT, this is where the Christian faith seems tricky to me – and feel free to share if you disagree!! I’m open to learning!!
We are NOT to judge – we are not to say something as fact about someone when we don’t know their true motives/ hearts/ actions. Basically, we aren’t supposed to give our opinions and personal feelings of others in a condemning way.
Now, there are times in our faith when we aren’t to close our eyes to sin either! We must be wise as serpents, and not allow evil in our homes or near us. Not that ‘people’ are evil, but there is evil work. We are in a SPIRITUAL battle – against the ruler of evil and darkness – and can NOT disregard or take lightly the methods of deceit he uses.
I don’t believe we are to go out and publicly put down every bad thing we see in people – no! That’s what all of the above is about. But when something poses a danger to someone – either physically or emotionally – I don’t believe we are to keep our mouths completely shut either.
If someone is going to be in the path of a rapist – would you not alert them? If you knew someone to have problems in certain areas that would affect the safety or spiritual life of another – would you not need to advise others ‘briefly’ of your concerns? I personally believe so – but only in these type circumstances.
One point I would encourage is to still not ‘label or judge’ actions – because there’s no way to prove what another’s heart is – only God can do that. But instead, we are to give Godly counsel, and in a manner that doesn’t involve anger/ bitterness/ resentment. God knows our motives and hearts – He sees all and knows all. He can see past our little sneaky ways (yes, we are ALL sneaky!!), and knows whether the words we speak are in love, or anger and evil. He knows if we are judgmental and condemning. He also holds us accountable for what we Do or Do Not say!