If you find pleasure in another's downfall, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the shackles are still on. You are bound and sitting in the enemies camp. Insensitive conversation that comes under the umbrella of verbal abuse or what I would like to term 'verbal slaughter' has far outstayed its welcome in our fellowship.
There's nothing to contribute to the edification of the body, during bible study, yet when placed in direct conflict with another, memory floods with bible verses and contributes to the tearing down instead of the building up of the body.
Sticks and stones can break bones but harsh words will crush the spirit of a saint. So choose your words wisely. What you do to the least of His children, you do unto Him. Watch your tongue! God is listening! And though you quote the scripture with clarity, when you use it to slaughter your brother or sister, it doesn't give honour unto God.
Watch what you say...
...about the PASTOR:
They too are saints, chosen to be your leader and their spirit can be crushed too. Show them love and respect. The bible teaches us to obey/respect human authority. So encourage them towards spiritual growth instead of helping to tear them down. Our response to their leading can either motivate or de-motivate them.
...about the NEW-BORN believer:
He/she has just been introduced to the faith. Our behaviour can contribute to the building up of him/her or it can contribute to their spiritual death.
...about the YOUTH:
Yes, they can be rebellious, at times, but they are our future. Treat them with respect. We can chastise without the harsh words. They too are God's beautiful creation and we are responsible for taking care of them. They will practise what we preach and if our sermon is a legacy of contempt/ abusive words which only de-motivate them, they will grow up lacking the confidence they need to move forward. And they will view the church in the wrong image. Let them see Christ in you and want to keep coming to church beyond their teen years.
...about your BROTHER and SISTER:
We are all at different level in our growth so do not judge. Help those who are weaker than you are and be open to receive help from those who are further along the way. We were all babes at one stage, so let us remove selfishness from our lives and share with each other so we can all continue to grow in the knowledge of Christ. We cannot fellowship one with another if malice, gossip, the use of abusive language and all its counterparts continues to sit comfortably among us. Romans 12:18 says: “Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.” (GND)
Imagine the Christian life as a coach journey. Some are seated at the front, others at the back and the rest in the centre. We are all heading in the same direction (working towards the same goal). The difference is that the coach is only meant to pick up passenger. However, our actions or reaction to certain situation can find someone hopping off the coach when it stops to pick up a passengers.
Today is a new day -- a gift no one deserves, so make a start today. God desires praise from a pure heart. Love covers all. Let us love one another like we aught to.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. So, obey the command to love thy neighbour as thyself. Even the individual who present or represents the stumbling block in your path, was created by God. They may, at the time, be living in darkness but it is not God's desire that any of us should perish, so don't be glad when they hurt and don't add to their pain. Though God may have removed them from your path, it may be the beginning of a process for them. So pray for them, that their eyes will be opened and that they too will come to know Christ as their personal Saviour and worship Him as King. We were also once in darkness but now that we have seen the light, we need to keep growing and be a beacon in the little space that we occupy.
Janice S Ramkissoon 2008
Janice, a freelance writer, lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with her husband, Vince and their son, Javin. She uses her gift to encourage others towards a deeper relationship with God, through her inspirational pieces while her travel articles provide general advice for the holiday-maker.