4–10 January, 2015.
One of the most common problems we face in life comes from dealing with other people’s gossip. When people are so polite to our faces, but then secretly spread evil rumours and lies behind us, it hurts us so deeply. We feel like there is no one we can trust, there is no one who is honest, there is no one who is genuine. We all know how painful these experiences are!
In the Bible, we see that God uses speech for amazing things: He creates the world through speaking, he brings messages of hope through the words of his prophets, and we know that Jesus Christ is the true “Word of God”. Amazingly, God even gives us this incredible gift of speech, making us like him. But what do we use it for? Not for creating goodness, but for criticizing and hurting others and for spreading lies about others.
In Psalm 5, the writer is devastated by the lies and gossip of others. As he says in verse 9: “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave.” So the writer prays to God in his despair. God is our Lord and King, he is the one who protects justice, so he should set things right on earth!
Now for the writer, “setting things right” means wanting God to absolutely destroy those people who lie and gossip and hurt him in those ways. In our times of pain, how often have we wished the same thing?
But we Christians know that God loves sinners, even those who lie and gossip about us. And we know that God has his own ways of punishing and healing that sin in their lives.
So as we start a new year, I want to encourage us to do two things. First, let’s make sure that we ourselves don’t spread gossip and lies about others. When you speak, ask yourself: Are my words really expressing love for others? And second, when we are the victims of gossip and lies, then practice bringing that pain to God in prayer like the psalmist does. But don’t forget to pray also for those who hurt us. Pray that Christ may heal them (and us) from all the evils of gossip and lies.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis