Genesis 41-42 / Matthew 12:1-23
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to Him: … a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 6:16,19
When Canadian geese fly south for the winter, they fly in a V-formation. This is a far less strenuous way to fly long distances because it lessens the wind resistance for most of the flock. Only the few geese in front have to break the wind barrier, and they rotate leadership so they all have a chance to fly with ease. In the meantime, the body of the flock honks encouragement from the V- formation like an orchestra cheering, “We’re right behind you!”
This is a perfect illustration of how encouraging words can build up our communities, but sadly, the words we say about others can just as easily cause destruction. When it becomes normal for a group of people to speak negatively about each other, we can be sure it will result in smeared reputations and ruined relationships.
God detests lying, but the most dangerous lies are not the outright falsehoods. The devil loves to twist the truth with questions that cast doubt as he did in the Garden of Eden. We replicate this when we make negative suggestions to others about a person’s character, motivations or agenda. We may also turn to lying to escape uncomfortable situations, to get us out of something we do not want to do or to shift the blame for our mistakes, but lying always has consequences. When confronted, we will either be forced to reveal our deception and break trust with those we have lied to or spin a web of lies to cover up the first one. This is why Proverbs 26:28 says, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts.”
Gossip is equally destructive. We tend to bend the truth to make ourselves appear better, which passes on with a snowball effect until it bears no resemblance to the truth. The rumours we share while gossiping lessen how we think of others, but the problem is our sinful nature delights in this. Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.” Church congregations and gatherings are no exception. Some will disguise gossip behind prayer requests or engage in dissecting other people’s sins with no regard for their privacy or feelings.
As long as we entertain lying and gossip in our communities, these practices will tear us apart. We are to partner with our brothers and sisters in Christ to help them overcome sin, not lie or gossip about it. Such words have no place in the mouths or hearts of believers, for God calls us to be a people who speak truth and encouragement. A flock of geese flying in harmony together paints a wonderful picture of what God expects of us.
PRAYER: Lord God, forgive me for the times I have lied or gossiped about others, and thank You for the opportunities You give me today to speak encouragement to those around me.