The Sawdust Pickers are ahead 7 to 3 in the game of life. They screeched past the Plank Pluckers with a dab of gossip about someone who was supposed to be a friend, and then scored the extra points when the story was embellished just a bit and believed by someone on the outside looking in.
As one of our beloved Plank Pluckers made a bold counter play and counseled the most aggressive and leading scorer of the Sawdust Pickers the score tied 7 to 7 and the crowd was on its feet with lifted hands shouting hallelujah, Glory to God, and in general screaming rowdy thanks heavenward.
Then out of nowhere the defensive players, Anger, Envy, and Strife showed up and the game intensified. Prayer, Fasting, and Bible Study ran out on the field for the Plank Pluckers and went head to head in a grueling battle. As mud flew the Sawdust Pickers knocked the Plank Pluckers to their knees once again. Steady was the onslaught as Vicious Rumors, Deceit, and Lies joined the Sawdust Pickers and everyone was sure they had the game in the bag.
When victory seemed nowhere in sight for the Plank Pluckers their star quarter back, Holy Spirit, showed up and began calling the plays…First up, a play of mercy and grace, followed by two of the biggest, most impressive plays ever made in the game of life; forgiveness and loving kindness! It was a matter of no time at all till every member of the Sawdust Pickers came tumbling down and the Plank Pluckers celebrated triumphantly as the whistle blew and the skirmish came to an end.
Matthew 7: 1-5 “1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4) How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5) You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Luke 6:41, 42 41) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42) How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Why is it so easy for us to see other’s faults, inadequacies, and apathy above our own? It seems that we are quick to judge and condemn others for the slightest weakness and then expect others to over look ours. We are comfortable judging others on their actions while expecting them to judge us on our intentions. The worst part of it is that we tend to do this to our friends, our families, and those in our church.
Don’t get me wrong…I am all about exercising judgment and discernment. But when it is malicious in intent…when that judgment and condemnation are verbalized so that it makes the one pointing out the errors of someone else seem to look better, all high and mighty, all holier than thou, well…it’s wrong, I tell you, it is just plain wrong! And it makes me madder than a wet hen!
When we as “mature” Christians see this happening what do we do? Do we sit idly by and watch, thinking it is not our place to intervene, thinking that if we ignore it…it will all work out or simply just go away. Heaven forbid! Titus tells us to teach the younger. Most of the New Testament tells us how to mentor, teach, and grow believers in one form or another.
But nowhere over the past 19 years have I read anywhere in the Bible that someone who calls themselves “mature in the Word” is supposed to bash the faith of a believer who is barely off milk let alone into the meat. No where have I read that we are to go to our “friend” and voice our opinions on how someone else is living their life, especially when we know our friend is going to tell their friend, who will tell another friend. And if we as true mature Christians sit by and let this happen…with out action…woe to us!
It is one thing to tell your prayer partner of a specific need in someone’s life, to join together and take it to the Lord. I am a firm believer in that, for sure, that’s the power play. But why, oh why, do believers fall to temptation and start gossiping, when in reality our sister or brother needs a true helping hand?
The root of gossip is usually that someone has had their feelings hurt in one way or another and then the focus goes from God to self. When we are not focused on God how can we get the work done that He has called us to do? And everyone from the least to the greatest has a job to do! It is as plain and simple as that!
Before we begin to judge, condemn, and point fingers at others…we need to take a long hard look in the mirror at our own hearts; judge that, condemn that, tell others that!
James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
James 3: 5, 6 “5) Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6) The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fires, and is itself set on fire by hell.
James 3: 8-10 “8) but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
1st Peter 3:10 “For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”
1st John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love one another with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”
All scripture is from the New International Version
· For further reading: Matthew 7:1-2; Luke 6:37; Luke 19:22; John 8:15; John 12:47; Romans 2:1; Romans 2:16; Romans 14:10; Hebrews 12:23; Hebrews 13:4; James 4:12