Charity "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;" 1 Corinthians 13:6
To feel or show great joy or delight
Immoral or grossly unfair behavior. Sins against God's word.
That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality. Faithfulness and constancy. Righteous virtue.There are a few ways we can rejoice in iniquity:
- If we are taking pleasure in our own sin
- Taking pleasure in others sin
- If we are happy when someone is getting their due
- We enjoy hearing or sharing bad reports (gossip)
For women, I see this all too prevalent. Even among seasoned Christians. I have always struggled with bad reports. There is a point in every conversation where there is a space of time that develops. It is that point at which a topic has been concluded and we women move in for a juicy story.
There are 2 types of rejoicers in iniquity:
- The Broadcaster: The one who tells the bad report.
- The Responder: The one who reacts to the report.
The broadcaster, "Did you hear so and so was doing this or that."
The responder, "Oh, how horrible. That person deserves to pay for what they did."
I have only met one or two women in my entire lifetime that resist this pull. Both of these women were not Christians. Go figure! Why is it that we Christians can not kick this bad habit????
About 12 years ago, I was talking with a cousin of mine. I had a bad situation come up and I decided to broadcast it to her (tale bearing), which is normal for me to do. She looked at me and said, "I really do not want to hear bad reports about other people. I do not feel comfortable with things like that."
I can remember my heart pounding and my face feeling like it changed 5 shades of red. I was "trying to be a light" to my family and friends while my Grandmother was dying. I was trying to be that Christian example and than I pull that? What is going on? Here, this older cousin of mine, who does not even trust fully in Jesus, shows me up in her virtue.
There is a passage in the book of James that really hits me between the eyes on this one...
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." ~James 3:6-10
This ought not be so! But it is so. It is so prevalent. I actually try to guard myself from it but even then it is hard, especially when you are around someone who is entrenched in this sin and they are someone you look up to.
It is so funny to watch people at a church meeting. I have been to so many different types of churches from stoic baptist to raising your hands, falling in the isles pentecostal. Each filled with their dedicated flocks. All of which seem so pious in their own right. They praise God with their mouths, raise their hands in holy dedication, and sing songs with their eyes closed in utter worship.
Then we travel out to the parking lot or nursery and, oh my, the smiles fade and the bad reports start flying. I have been there and done that already. Guilty. I am guilty of being the Broadcaster and the Responder. At times I would feel the race of my heart to share a bit of a juicy story (Some person was caught doing some sin). It is fun. You can get reactions and people enjoy the story. They want to hear more. It is kinda like a way of passage sometimes. You actually get the attention from the other person and you can indulge in the story together as if you were best friends.
- It attracts the crowd.
- Gives a good filler for a dull conversation
- It makes you look righteous
- It causes you to feel better about yourself
~And, I have also been a good Responder to bad reports. I aid and abet the crime by driving the nails into the accused. I agree with the accusations and by so doing I
- Keep my friend by way of agreement
- Make myself feel better by further putting others down
- Give myself an advantage over others in the huddle of slander by voicing my disgust
How can we Christians do this? We boast about how we serve God here or there, minister to these people or those people and then out comes poison! We just got done praising God and then we can't wait to curse man whom God loved so much he gave his Son to die for. It is sad. We get on the phone and tell all kinds of bad reports to someone else. If only we could get caught. If only our sins would find us out. Then, and only then could we feel the heat of it as we get burned. I have been burned by my own mouth many times. It hurts bad to know you brought shame to another person by your words.
Here is an excuse for how we Christian women broadcast bad reports, as if this excuse is excusable in the site of God.
"I am telling you this for prayer." Oh, there. That makes it better:)
Or "I am telling you this because I just needed to VENT." Nice try;)
My children do it all the time. They love telling stories about others' bad behavior. Stories about kids that are mean to them, nasty, or selfish. They smile when the other child gets in trouble and is punished. So often I have to stop them and instruct them to find something nice to say about that person- to bless that person in some way. I have talked badly about people to my husband in front of the children, so it is no wonder where they picked up the habit.
Different times in my life I have been able to conquer this, but I find more and more as I age, that the best way to avoid this tendency is to avoid people. Where there are people, there is rejoicing in iniquity- whether it be a bad report or a gladness in seeing the proud be pulled down. We are happy when we see someone get their due.
How do we overcome? Do we stick a piece of duct tape over our mouths and ears? Do we crawl into a hole and hide? NO! Certainly not!
We overcome by doing the opposite: By Rejoicing in the truth.
God gives us the antidote for our poison. He tells us in his word what we can focus on rather...
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." ~Phillipians 4:4-8
If we can have the courage to stand up to people by saying what my cousin was brave enough to say, "I really do not want to hear bad reports," just think of how far reaching our actions might become. It could influence our children to stop talking bad. When we thwart another believer from this bad behavior, it could encourage them to focus on the truth, the pure things of life, the good reports that edify others.
The Good Report Diet...
If only we could let this be a kindly reminder of the power of our words-how our words either minister or tear down. I want my words to minister and to encourage, so I am going to put myself on a good report diet. We go on diets to improve our weight or health, why not go on a diet to improve our conversation?
I hear of people all the time going on a Gluten free diet. They talk about it, they spend extra time and money to follow it through. They determine to cut all sugar and gluten out of their diet. People are actually successful in diets because they can stop addictions to food and starve the cravings. It is amazing that people can be so good at conquering health in the body, but their words are still full of vile poison that tears people down.
Why not rather be better at keeping our mind pure than just merely our bellies. Keeping our mind pure is of eternal value. Keeping our belly pure is good practice but is not eternal. It may help you be stronger, feel better, or live longer but it will not keep you from the fires of hell.
If we speak bad things, it comes out of our heart...
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." ~Matthew 12:34-37