[CF Devotionals] 2009-11-05 - Belittling Speech

Psa 28:3 Do not drag me away with the wicked And with those who work iniquity, Who speak peace with their neighbors, While evil is in their hearts. (NASB)

I spent some time going through my notebook and found some points I wanted to share from a sermon from Psalm 28.

The church can be called many things. The longer I live the more and more it reminds me of a hospital. It's not so much for the physically injured though many of them come as well. But for the world that does not know Christ and is struggling, often desperately, to find meaning or hope and help the church should be the last stop in that search. The world should have to look not further than the mercy, forgiveness and salvation offered by the church. By the way - the church is not a building, but a body of believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The church building is often where this help is dispensed. But it is equally likely to be found at a neighbor's house or in a cubicle in an office building, or on a bus, car or train.

There is no Christian that has not be slandered in an attempt to number them with the wicked. In Psalm 28 David is being maligned and belittled. He asks God who David trusts to see the reality clearly. He goes to God first. Anyone can speak ill of another. It takes very little talent, does not require research of any type and does not have to rely on the truth - and often is the furthest thing from the truth. At its worst it will contain a small grain of truth that connect all the rest of the false statements together.

None of us is perfect. We need only be reminded of the woman caught in adultery that was dragged to Jesus. Jesus did not condemn the woman even though she was apparently guilty, possibly entrapped by those who accused her. What the Lord did was give leave for the person who was without sin to throw the first stone at the woman. That first stone never came. Instead one-by-one the group dispersed until she was left with Jesus. Even then Jesus did not condemn her but instructed the woman to go and sin no more. It was another chance - quite literally a new lease on life.

The world should know that we are Christians - people who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and aspire to the life He lived - by the love that we have one for another. Jesus said that He would draw all mankind to Himself. If we are the ambassadors that those who are drawn to Jesus will meet, what will their response be? Will they meet a welcome with understanding and open arms regardless of their journey?

We need to put away this hurtful way of speaking and make a habit of speaking with mercy and grace. They are the things we were given at the cross. Jesus knew exactly who we were and the sins we would commit, and He died in our place in spite that that knowledge. He would have been right to have said that we were worthy of eternal separation from God - spiritual death, the second death. But He allowed those nails to pierce His hands and feet, and the thorns to dig into His head, and the spear into His side -- for each one of us.

Learn and speak mercy and grace. Selah.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com