HOW TO START A DEADLY FIRE

May 30, 2024

HOW TO START A DEADLY FIRE

 
 
Years ago, I ministered with a traveling team. Holly and I and our family lived in a trailer, but the single team members stayed in the homes of church members.
 
One of our team members burned up part of a church member’s house. When I asked him what happened, he said, "Well, I was grilling out on their grill, and I just took the charcoals and threw them in a trash can by the edge of the house, and I guess, somehow, it caught on fire and then caught the house on fire."
 
"Was there anything in the trash can?" I asked.
 
"No," he said, "It was just filled with dry leaves."
 
THE WORST KIND OF FIRE
Fire can be deadly and destructive. But something else is even more dangerous: gossip from a contentious man or woman.
 
Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body. (Proverbs 26:21-22)
 
A contentious man is a proud man who always thinks he's right. Therefore, he will not submit to anyone and must have things his way. When It doesn't go the way he desires, he talks. He becomes a "whisperer." He’s not interested in merely resolving the issue; he is only interested in getting his way. And he doesn’t care who it hurts in the process.
 
Whispering gossip is powerful. It doesn't just bounce off the surface but is delicious like candy to those who hear it, and if consumed, it will "go into the innermost part of the body." It becomes a part of them, false or true. To them, it's the truth, and they begin to live in light of what they've heard, and you can't change their minds.
 
I've seen more churches destroyed through gossip than almost anything. For over 25 years, I've told every new member of our church in our membership class that we are "death on gossip." We are committed to building a biblical church filled with truth and grace. This means we will handle difficulties and conflict in a Kingdom way, as described in the Bible. But we will not tolerate gossip because it destroys lives.
 
Don't set a fire with your tongue, as James warns. You might burn up someone's house, and it would be twice as bad if it's God's.
 




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