"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."1
"On his radio broadcast Steve Brown explained that when a group of thoroughbred horses face attack from an outside enemy, they stand in a circle facing each other and with their back legs, kick out at the enemy. Donkeys, on the other hand, do just the opposite. They circle up, facing the enemy, and use their hind legs to kick each other! How often does the church [or families] do the identical thing—ignore the real enemy while attacking fellow believers?"2
An old cliché, but worth repeating, says, "The church is the only army that shoots its wounded." This can be especially applicable to some divorced people in some church circles—even when the divorcee had absolutely no choice in the matter. Some churches have fought and split over their church music. Some denominations have split over insignificant doctrinal issues. I've seen bickering and backbiting destroy one church I know, and I know one pastor who was "crucified" through idle gossip started by a jealous, critical person. Most of those church members would never have dreamt of stealing this pastor’s transportation, which they would have considered to be a terrible sin, but thought nothing about stealing his reputation; and which did the greater harm?
Furthermore, when the name of someone we don't like comes up, all we have to do is to say, "Oh him," in a put-down-tone-of-voice, to sow doubt in someone's mind about that person. And when we label people negatively, we negate them.
When we do these things, we are not acting like thoroughbred horses!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, deliver me from the sin of gossip, slander, backbiting, and divisive behavior. Help me to become a 'thoroughbred' Christian and not like the other kind. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:30-32 (NIV).
2. E. Glenn Wagner, Ph.D, The Awesome Power of Shared Beliefs (Word Publishing, 1995).