2011-08-04 - Sticks and Stones
Jude 1:9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke you! (NASB)
Moses was granted permission by God to see the promised land from the other side of the river, but was not permitted to enter. When Moses died it was God Who buried the body of Moses (Deut 34:6). Our enemy wanted the body of Moses - the reason is not specified but it would not be for the good of Israel or the yet unborn church. It is fascinating to me that this amazing being "did not dare" to speak against the enemy. If humanity is made just a little lower than the angels then who would we be speak accusations against him either? The Archangel Michael did not cast literally "an evil-speaking judgment" against the enemy. Would it have been deserved? Yes. The same could be said of any member of the human race standing in our own strength apart from our Savior. All our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Michael set the example and allowed the Lord of Hosts to dismiss the enemy.
Prov 11:9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. (NASB)
Just like you use fewer muscles to frown than to smile, it is easy to be negative. It is easier when the negativity is factually correct beyond argument. Add the facet that the person who is the target of the negativity has made your life difficult and it is becomes hard not to be negative. It is so terribly easy to allow your frustrations to get a deep hold on your emotions and hold you in place in the storm of emotions. This is a topic that has weighed on my heart for at least month. It is a battle for me to hold my critical responses in some situations. There are times when evaluation demands a critical response. That must be done in private, or as privately as possible and should include the person or persons in question if at all possible - never at the water cooler.
Prov 17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue. (NASB)
When you hear a negative comment or accusation, what should we do with it? If you are in the company of others we are also affected by the same issue the discussion will simply amplify the negative feelings. If we have something against a brother (or a sister) we have direction in Matt 5:22-24. Go to them and make things right between the two of you. Not doing this perpetuates the problem and gives it a life of its own to dig into you and cripple you and your witness to that person. If you hear something negative about another person stop the chain right at you and decline to accept the news or pass it along. Where it comes to this kind of negative talk it is my conviction that the same process applies to those who are not believers as it impacts our ability to witness even silently with our lives. Our lives in this case are not speaking love, mercy and grace.
It is easy to be negative. But even if the accusations are well-founded, they are destructive to the person we present as a representative of our Lord. The end result is to be known as a peace maker or someone that perpetuates a toxic situation.
What do you want the perception of you to be? How will you represent Christ to others? Selah.
Grace & Peace,