Spiritual Warfare: Slander Hinders the Work of Godby Paul Estabrooks on June 4, 2013
Spiritual Warfare: Slander Hinders the Work of God
By Paul Estabrooks
"So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.."1 Peter 2:1
China’s house church leaders representing more than ten million members met some years ago for a conference to discuss the main problems facing their churches. They ranked their top three problems, and came up with strategies to solve them. At the top of the list was gossip. Leader after leader told stories of how their ministries had been compromised by this subtle sin. One house church leader from Henan Province shared the following experience:
“I went into an area to lead Bible studies for coworkers and they wouldn’t let me into the house where we were to hold the seminar. I asked them through the closed door what the problem was, but they wouldn’t tell me. They just told me to go away. It was winter and I went a little ways outside the town, knowing I must start a fire to sleep beside or I would freeze to death. I wondered what on earth could have made those brothers and sisters turn me away on such a cold night without a word of explanation.
“But a brother took pity on me and brought me secretly to his home. I eventually pried the truth out of him. The leaders in the area had received an anonymous letter denouncing me as a ‘lover of many women.’ Try as hard as I might, I could not get them to listen to me or let me see the letter. Later in another part of the country, I learned the letter had been sent by a brother I had disciplined for moral laxity, and he had sent it out of spite.
“I went to him and he repented. He sent another letter, but because the first one was unsigned, they didn’t believe him. Both of us offered to go there, but we weren’t welcomed. The testimony of the church was ruined. I still have to explain myself wherever I go. It’s a victory for the devil.
“I went with the offending brother out to the countryside and told him to pluck a chicken. We walked along while he did; the wind blew the feathers far over the fields. When he was finished, he asked, ‘What now?’ I told him, ‘Pick up every feather, and put it back on the chicken.’ He said, ‘That’s impossible.’ I replied, ‘You are right. It is impossible, just as the damage your words have done cannot be repaired.’ ”
The house church leaders pledged to be more loving, and to hold more face-to-face meetings with each other to minimize the sin of gossip in the future.
RESPONSE: Today I will thwart Satan’s temptations to offend others by committing the sin of gossip.
PRAYER: Lord, enable me to stand strong today in the face of all that Satan tries to throw at me.