Are You Spreading Strife? by Kay Schrock

I often glaze over some words or verses in the Bible, thinking they don’t apply to ME. Like Proverbs. It talks alot about ‘fools’, ‘evil persons’, and so forth. I don’t like to class myself as a fool. I have the image in my mind of a fool as someone who is so obviously ignorant, arrogant, and just unwise, that we would all recognize them. God has another definition that we should seriously consider. We need to always take God’s Word seriously, and when He describes someone as a fool, we can be sure that such a person IS a fool.

Proverbs 10:18 “He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.”

I know – I never thought I was one to spread slander, either. I mean, that sounds kind of harsh, right? Well, lets first see what slander actually means. Webster’s defines it as: ” the utterance of false charges, or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.”

Wow. I have done that. I have been upset with someone, went home and talked about them to my husband, in such a way that it damaged their reputation in his eyes. I have slandered. I am a fool. So God says. Of course, I have repented of the times I have done this, but I have to continually watch for it in my life. I am beginning to see how serious it is to defame another person. Yes, even to our husbands. Of course, we share most things with our husbands, but there are small things that don’t need to be shared. Or if they are, then given in such a way as to not place blame on the person(s) involved. “But we share everything! And he needs to know what kind of people they are!” I can hear you saying it. Oh, but you don’t have to ‘let him know’ how they are! We should always talk about other people, especially our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, as favorably as possible. Trust me, our men are not stupid – if there is a real problem, they will figure it out on their own. I know there are certain circumstances we have to bring up, for various reasons, but even then, we should be as objective and kind as possible.

Proverbs 18:21 says that ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue…’ We can cause a friendship to live or die, by the words we speak.

It is the same between friends. We feel we must tell our friend that thing she did, or that thing she said, and it ends up destroying the friendship between the two of them. We need to ponder the verse that says: “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.” Proverbs 16:28

Killing a friendship that God meant for blessing and good is a serious thing. Sowing suspicion, doubt, and distrust about another sister or brother in the church is slander. That is how alot of problems begin, by some slander that damages another persons reputation, and starts a snowball of suspicion and distrust. It grows and grows. Be wary, my sisters, of any talk that degrades or damages another. Even a little bit. Even with our husbands, family, or close friends that ‘understand’. It is too easy to wreck friendships, ruin reputations, and start church problems. If you have a problem with anyone, the best way is the way Jesus taught us in Colossians 3:13; “…bearing with one another, forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”

In the rare cases where it as actually sin, (and not just small offenses) use the advice in Matthew 18:15-17. But be careful of using those verses as a reason to go parading your own personal ‘hurts’ to someone else.

Try forgiveness. Try mercy. Try walking a mile in their shoes. Try understanding. Try love.

“There is one who speaks rashly, like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Pro. 12:18

 

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