Preparing our Character for Eternal Life
… but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.…James 3:8-9
Misconceptions, misinformation, fake news, slander, rumors, and gossip are among the most popular things that many people believe. Yes, for some reason, we readily embrace and accept false information without questioning its validity. The negative headlines of tell-all have forced many celebrities into seclusion, or a broken friendship can lead an individual to disclose trusted information. How many real-life movies and books based on the exposure of sensationalized information are on the best-seller lists?
Acceptance of rumors and gossiping has also infiltrated our churches. Believers are not exempt from disclosing to other believers the spoken requests from testimonies and prayers. Many individuals have suffered hurt and embarrassment from having personal prayer requests shared with those who have no desire to pray for the resolution of the problem. There is nothing wrong with praying for others. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16. Sharing problems with the intent of bearing each other’s burdens as intercessors is what God expects of the righteous person, to pray on the behalf of someone else.
What is motivating us to share what someone else disclosed? Is it with good intentions? Even so, most of the time, we cannot tell the exact story as we read or heard it. Two individuals can witness an incident, and based on their perceptions, will relay two different accounts of what happened. But that is a different situation. Before we pass judgment on others for spreading news, whether authentic or fake, self-examination is required. Are we engaging in the same behavior? Think about how you are relaying the information; are you using selective words and being exact, or are you using many descriptive words to enhance and create an interesting story.
If so, why are we so attracted to sensationalized information?
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9
It is an innate desire that leads us to pursue the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not that all ambitions are sinful or produce negative consequences. Still, our hearts propel us to seek out the counterproductive things that hurt others or hurt ourselves. Adam and Eve embraced Satan’s deceitful lie of becoming like gods if they disobeyed and ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Since God created a perfect home, everything they knew was excellent. The first couple had no concept of what “evil” was, but they desired to go against God’s commands. Satan used a beautiful serpent who mesmerized Eve by gently speaking to her. “Look at me, you will not die.” And she believed because the serpent could talk, something that the other animals in the garden could not do, so the fruit from the tree had to be good.
Satan always presents sin as a personalized, gift-wrapped present using spoken or written language to manipulate our minds. He quickly observes our behaviors that reveal our secret desires. Our senses of seeing and hearing trigger a domino effect; when we read or listen to tell-all news or misinformation, our way of thinking begins to change. We become attracted to lies that contain a sprinkle of truth to cover-up intentional misrepresentation, and then the habit begins.
Sensationalized news spreads like a raging fire. Word-of-mouth from one person to another is what writers, publishers, and the media depend on for financial growth. Misinformation based on the ability to present twisted stories is readily accepted by most and continues to be a billion-dollar industry. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:10
We must strive to turn away from the evil of speaking, reading, and hearing tell-all stories. With God, we can overcome the desire to embrace all sensationalized story-telling. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18:21. Ask yourself, “Does this information glorify God or enhance my knowledge to live a better lifestyle?”
Do not be hasty to speak, and do not let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are on earth. So let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2
Pray for deliverance! We can change habits that are not uplifting for our spiritual growth.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 2
God, we ask forgiveness for seeking after unrighteousness. The things that we use our eyes to see and ears for listening, are unworthy and sinful. We pray for your help to break all habits that continue to cause character defects and prevent us from having Eternal life. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.