I’m concerned that we are living in a culture of slander. It is not simply tolerated, it’s celebrated. Name calling and demonizing our opponents has become a new national pastime.
And we seem to be unaware of the corrosive impact of the slander epidemic on our collective soul as a country.
The dictionary defines slander as “making a false and damaging statement about another person.”
God’s definition of slander is “bearing false witness.” It’s one of the ten commandments.
Proverbs says that whoever utters slander is a fool.
And in Colossians, Paul says that for all who are in Christ, slander is to be laid aside or put off, along with anger, malice, wrath and abusive speech. These are things that should not characterize anyone who is a child of God.
But slander will get you ratings. Slander will get you retweeted. We love when someone from our team scores a point by slandering someone from the other team. “Yeah!” we cheer. “You tell ‘em!”
Think for a minute what your social media feed would look like if the slander was eliminated? What if instead of slander, the posts all followed the instructions we find in Colossians 3:12–15:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Can you imagine if everyone on Facebook and Twitter decided to read those verses before they posted anything?
We talked last Sunday about how we are called to serve the Lord with fervor, not lacking in zeal (Romans 12:11). But our zeal and passion for truth must never lack grace. Or kindness. Or compassion. Or humility. Or patience.
You see where I’m going here, right?
Look back through your last 10 posts on Facebook or Twitter.
Or think back on the conversations you had yesterday where you talked about world affairs or talked with friends about people you know.
Or to go even deeper, what about the thoughts you’ve had that may have gone unexpressed but that reflected what’s in your heart nonetheless.
Was there any slander present in any of those settings? Anything that needs to be confessed and repented of?
“Let your speech always be gracious,” the Apostle Paul instructs us in Colossians 4. Our speech, he says, should be “seasoned with salt.” In other words, how we talk should make people thirsty for the Living Water.
Don’t be conformed to the thinking or the speaking of this world. Be transformed by renewing your mind. And your tongue.
It’s retreat time, guys!
We’ll be heading to the Ozark Conference Center on Friday for our 24 hour getaway. You can arrive as early as 4:00 pm, but we won’t have anything official happening until dinner starts at 6:00. So you won’t miss anything important if you arrive at 5:59.
Sunday night, April 29 is our first fifth Sunday of the year (the first of three fifth Sundays in 2018). We’ll be meeting at church that night from 6:30 – 7:30, gathering for a simple night of reading and hearing Scripture, praying as a large group, praying in smaller groups, and praying individually as well. We will sing a few songs to keep our hearts and minds focused on what we are praying for. We will thank God for all He has done and look forward expectantly seeking His face for His glory to be displayed in and through us at Redeemer.
We hope you’ll plan to be there.
Our next prospective membership meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 19. If you’d like to find out more about what’s involved in membership at Redeemer, let Matt Gurney know. firstname.lastname@example.org There is some light reading required before the Saturday meeting, so make sure you connect with Matt ahead of time.
And finally, on Sunday June 10, we’ll have a baptism service at our traditional location – Tom and Nancy Arnold’s home. If you have never been baptized since you surrendered your life to Jesus, we would love to talk to you about following the Lord and being obedient with this public declaration of your faith. Again, contact Matt Gurney and let him know that you’re interested in being baptized so we can set up a time to meet with you to discuss baptism. email@example.com
Okay, chefs. Time to whip up meals for Rob and Grace Harris as they adjust to life with their new baby. Click this link to get on the meal train and bless the Harris’s.
And in other baby news this week…
Beckett White is home from the hospital!
And it looks like his sister will be joining him soon! Woo hoo!
And that’s not all!
As of tonight, Ben and Abby Elkins are officially the proud parents of baby Eva Reid Elkins, born at 8:40 pm today. Six pounds, 9 ounces. 19 ¼ inches long. Hopefully, we’ll have some pictures to show on Sunday!
After several months of prayer and conversation, the Elders believe God has set apart Randall Van Den Berghe to serve as a deacon at Redeemer. Over the next two weeks, we’d ask that if any who are church members have any concerns about Randall serving in this role, that you would approach him and bring your concerns to him.
Assuming there are no concerns from any members, we will plan to install Randall in his role on Sunday, May 6 during our morning worship service.
Genuine love for others is often counter cultural and counter intuitive. We’ll learn more about what Romans tells us about transformational living this Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!