Sunday, March 14, 2010


In my entire life of sixty- seven years, I have heard the word "aspersions" used less than a handful of times. I don't recall ever using it myself, so I had to look it up. Webster's Dictionary gives four uses for the word: the act of defaming; a damaging or disparaging remark; slander; and an innuendo. Webster's Thesaurus gives a several synonyms, but I will only use those for which I do not need the dictionary: slam, slur, abuse, muck, backbiting, scandal, slander, and libel. I think the general idea is someone talking negatively about another in order to discredit them. Gossip isn't included, but I feel comfortable adding it.

Christians are forbidden to do any of these things. Gossips or talebearers should read Leviticus 19:16; Proverbs 11:13; and Ezekiel 22:9. Backbiters should read Romans 1:30; and 2 Corinthians 12:20. Slanderers should read Luke 6:45; 1 Timothy 5:13; 1 Peter 3:10; and Revelation 12:10. False witnesses should read Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20; Matthew 19:18; Luke i8:20; and Romans 13:9. The Word of God is clear that man will be accountable for everything he says. Matthew 12:36-37 says, "But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

So what is a Christian to do if he is aware of a brother's sin? The first thing he should pray that he hasn't contributed to their trespass. The second thing he should do is pray for God's timing in leading you to approach the offender. Your motive in going should be reconciliation. Matthew 18:15-17 give the order of actions one must take to resolve the problem. Speak to him in private. If that doesn't work, take two or three witnesses (preferably elders) and try again. That failing, take the matter before the whole church. If after that, the individual continues, he is to be put out of the church. At no time are we to talk to others about it until prayer and a private meeting fail. Throughout the entire sequence, reconciliation is the goal.

I can remember responding to someone cussing by saying, "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" I was trying to get a point across and yet stay on speaking terms. It didn't usually work. More than not, I was reminded of one or more of my failures to live a Christ-like life. Jesus told His disciples to get the beam out of their own eye before attempting to remove a splinter from someone else's eye (Matthew 7:1-5). I sort of doubt that the Spirit would lead a person to approach his brother with sin in his own life. It sounds more like what the devil would do, instead of reconciliation, division is almost certainly going to be the result.

Whether witnessing to the lost, or correcting a brother, one must do three things: have his sins confessed, have a genuine desire to reconcile the person to God, and most importantly, wait until the Spirit of God gives you the green light. The servant, the motive, and the timing all are necessary for success.

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