when you put my name in your mouth. | gossip, in the name of the Lord.

Guys. You can just see all the bad influence written all over my face, can’t you? I’ll wreck your life and your marriage, you know, since I apparently get off on spiritual depravity, demonic influences, and divorce. Riiiiight. #sarcasm

Apparently, this is stuff people ACTUALLY say about me.

(and don’t give me crap about sarcasm either; read Job. God was snarky, k?)

I added the moment after this picture was taken at the bottom of this post so I can tell you how I really feel about that.

I learned early this week that people I barely knew 3 or 4 years ago are still talking about stuff I did 2 years ago.

So let me lay that out: we barely ever knew each other, it’s been a handful of years since we’ve even seen each other, and some stuff happened well after the last time I saw them, and that was even a long time ago now, and THEY STILL TALKIN BOUT IT.

Why? Because people love drama and a juicy story and nobody loves it more than Christians. Yeah, I said it.

We’re the WORST gossipers in the world… and we should be ashamed.

And not just because we’re gossipers, but because we do it in the name of our God. It’s disgusting.

For example:

“Hi, random friend, I can’t tell you what so and so is going through just because it juicy because that would be gossip, so I’ll just ask you to pray for them and give you all the salacious details so you can pray specifically for those things. That way it’s not gossip, it’s a prayer request. It’s Godly gossip.”

Or, almost more hilariously,

“Oh, sweet Christian I actually know. I’m only telling you these things because I want to guard you and protect you from the demonic influences of this other person I barely know of but you should know they did x, y, and z, so be careful about associating with them. They also have sinful friends and bad influences that did a, b, and c which caused this person to do x, y, and z. But don’t worry about us, this isn’t gossip or slander at all, because I have one side of the story, and I’m only telling you to protect you from those evil spirits.”

If you only knew how often this hellacious behavior infect our churches, you would vomit your own self out of your mouth just to save Jesus the trouble. And I’m not casting undue judgment like I’m above this; I’ve been guilty of it too! I confess! Especially the prayer part, I’ve given way too much of information that didn’t belong to me in the past, and even if I was naive or malicious, it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t make it right. I confess and I repent.

We need to figure ourselves out, Church. I love you – genuinely love the people and the houses of God – but we can’t keep pulling this crap. We’re the worst, often to each other, and the world knows it. We’re supposed to be known for our love, which is supposed to be Christlike and sacrificial, but our love is conditional and fake AF and that’s what people outside of the Body know us by.

We’re missing the mark by so much. Sooo so much. We must do better.

We must call each other out when we’re sinning, yes, but we must love one another FIRST. And I don’t mean like “oh, I love you, brother, just because I see you in church and that’s a Christianese thing we say.” I mean actually LIVING, BREATHING, and WALKING IN LOVE with one another FIRST. As friends. As family. FIRST.

THAT is how you speak truth in love. You get in love first.

It’s also how you identify a mature Christian, according to Ephesians. Just saying.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

(Ephesians 4:15 NIV)

And honestly, if you’re going through something like this, where people and just talking all kinds of crap about you, I want to leave you with a few things:

• We know pride goes before destruction, and a haughty (aka: arrogant, superior, and disdainful) spirit before the fall (Proverbs 16:18) and that’s exactly what these people are. They’re prideful, self-righteous, and Pharasitic to think they’re any better than anyone else. And since pride goes before destruction, we know that if they continue to live this way unrepentantly, a humbling will come and they will know what it feels like to be on our level.

• Speaking of our level, we don’t even have to wait for this to KNOW they’re already on our level. Romans 3:23 let’s us know this is a level playing field of sinful filth; we all fall short of the glory of God.

• Despite our faults and mistakes, rejoice, okay?! Because it’s not by our own sinless perfection that we are saved and adopted into God’s family, even if some of its members think they can look down their noses at us. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) In my life, I’m okay if my mistakes gives people a reason to think less of me if it gives me a greater appreciation of grace.

• And I’ll just leave this excerpt from Romans right here, I don’t believe it needs any explanation: They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-32 NIV, emphasis mine).

Also, just kidding. For my own sake, I will add that the punishment listed here for slanderer and gossips is the same throughout the Bible in multiple passages for the sexually immoral – which I have so eloquently been described. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Revelation 22:15, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:5, and so on.

Anyway, I think I’ve made my point. Moral of the story: if you don’t actually know me, it would be wiser (and more Biblical) to keep. my. name. out. yo. mouth.

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