Some Thoughts on Gossip

2 Corinthians 12:20
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish–that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

Proverbs 20:19
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

There is a time to talk about a situation or about another person. David told Samuel all that Saul had done to him (1 Samuel 19:18). Paul and John exposed the sinful behavior of specific brethren in their letters. But we find ourselves justifying talking about people and situations way too much.

The Oxford Dictionary defines gossip as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.”

What are some thoughts from the Scripture that will help us define what gossip is?

Gossip is talking about people and situations without seeking a solution.

Proverbs 18:2
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Are we just venting to others? Are we just telling our side of the story? Is our purpose to find a solution and seek reconciliation, or is it just to tell others how right we are and how wrong others are? Gossip comes from pride, we simply think too much of our own opinion that includes our opinions and conclusions of others.

Gossip is imagining the worst motives about a person and repeating that to others.

Psalms 41:7
All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.

If our tone and our words are simply running somebody down, then what’s the point of that? If we keep thinking the worst of others, and we keep finding out that those things aren’t true, shouldn’t we look in the mirror and see that we are maligning others? God wants us to believe all things and hope all things, but if we are creating the worst possible scenario on people’s actions, words and motives, then we are not living in love.

Malign, according to Oxford Dictionary, means “to speak about (someone) in a spitefully critical manner.”

James 4:11
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Gossip is going “house to house” and repeating the story to person after person.

1 Timothy 5:13
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

Just as the gospel is spread “house to house” (Acts 20:20), so is gossip. Are we spreading the gospel or spreading gossip from house to house? We have to look in the mirror and ask if we are talking about a situation to too many people.

Leviticus 19:16
You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

Gossip is uncovering what should be covered.

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Proverbs 17:9
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

My words have great power, including the ability to separate close friends. Maybe we need to be more like Noah’s sons, who walked backward to cover their father’s nakedness (Genesis 9). There are times to expose the sin, and the Bible is full of those examples. We especially need to expose those who are stirring up discord among God’s people. But as we are talking with others, let’s prayerfully consider whether we are seeking to cover sins or to make others look shameful before others.

Gossip must be stopped and silenced.

One of the jobs of shepherds in the church is to “stop the mouths” of those who are causing trouble. Gossip is one of the 7 things God hates. Shouldn’t we as God’s people seek to stop what God hates? The apostle John was going to personally stop the mouth of Diotrephes (3 John 9-10). Paul told Titus that the brethren’s idle mouths at Crete needed to be stopped (Titus 1:10-13). Paul knew that some people’s idle babble will spread like a cancer (2 Timothy 2:16-17). There was a time that Paul “delivered” certain brethren to Satan so they would learn to better use their mouths (1 Timothy 1:20).

Proverbs 6:16-19
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Titus 1:10-13
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

We stop gossip by:
  • Not repeating it. Gossip is like a chocolate cupcake, it sure tastes good to hear and really makes a great story to repeat. But God says this is sinful (Proverbs 11:13; 18:8; 26:20-22). Where there is no wood, the fire goes out. Stop adding fuel!
  • Not listening to it. The Bible says not to “associate” with a gossip (1 Corinthians 5:11; Proverbs 20:19; Romans 16:17-18). It amazes me that sometimes brethren are more concerned about disciplining a brother who has stopped attending church rather than stopping the gossip that is destroying the church. Gossips don’t make good friends. They just bring you down and you become like them. Proverbs says not to make friendship with an angry man lest you learn his ways and it be a snare to your soul (Proverbs 22:24). Gossip comes from angry hearts. Don’t hang around that kind of behavior.
  • Understanding that there are two sides. Love the other person who is being gossiped about. Love them enough to consider that you haven’t heard from him. Love him enough to go and hear from him. The Proverbs says that “the first one to plead his case seems right until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). Have you ever had someone gossip about you, and then that other person swallows that stuff hook, line and sinker without even coming to you? That hurts doesn’t it?
  • Following Jesus’ simple guidelines for resolving conflict (Matthew 18:15-17). Jesus told us, no he commanded us what to do. Are we smarter than God? Do we think we have a better way to resolve conflict? As Dr. Phil may ask, “How’s that working for you?” Is our way working?

Jesus will stop all idle mouths one day. The passage below is Jesus saying that we will give an account of those idle words one day. We will give account for every one of those idle words…not to my friends, not to the church, not to my boss, but to Jesus.

Matthew 12:33-37
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Here are a few questions a shepherd gave me that he has used to ask others:

  • Did they tell you about this matter because they wanted you to go with them to try and reconcile the situation?
  • Did they tell you about this matter because they wanted your thoughts on how they could best approach them?
  • Did they tell you about this matter because they wanted you to pray for them?

James 3:5-18
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

David and Goliath – Facing the Giants, Part 5

Today we are going to wrap up our look into the account of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Here are a few final observations, although so much more could be said from this chapter.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

1 Samuel 17:36-37 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

1 Samuel 17:45-47 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

David recognized that this was God’s battle to win. He saw that Goliath was bringing reproach to God and Israel, and that God would bring victory. This was not a physical battle in David’s eyes. One reason David wanted to kill Goliath was that the whole assembly there that day (Israelites and Philistines) would know that the battle belongs to the Lord.

Your battle against sin and against the Devil is a battle that belongs to God. It is not your fight to win, and in fact, you won’t win it if you try to go it alone. Be like David and see that this is God’s battle to win through you, in you and for you!

David Picked Five Stones, Not Just One

Here’s a point that I received from a friend, Geoff.

1 Samuel 17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

As a Christian, God expects you to be prepared. He wants us to have faith, but we have our duty to be plan and be prepared. David could have said, “I only need one,” but he didn’t. He went in prepared to the battle. We trust God saying he will provide for us financially, but we still need to work, budget, plan and save. We trust God will protect us, but we still don’t let our kids walk alone down dark alleys. We have our part to do as well.

Your victories will inspire courage in others

1 Samuel 17:51-53 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp.

Everyone in Israel was cowering and running, but when one man stood up and showed real faith, look what happened. The above verses shows that the people rose up and shouted and gained courage to fight! What happens when one person in our church or in our family stands up and shows the way to live! It inspires others to stand up and do what is right. We all need a David sometimes in our lives to stand up and show true faith, character and courage. Hopefully we can be that David for others in our relationships.

Goliath was well-armed, but his armor did not save him in the end.

1 Samuel 17:54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.

Look back at the description of Goliath’s armor early in chapter 17, its impressive. This was one scary dude and he was incredibly well-armed. But what did all that armor do for him in the end? One well slung stone and he was down. Just remember that Satan and all his forces were well armed, but Jesus disarmed them all making a public spectacle of him. If you look at Satan all all his forces have done, you would think no one could defeat them, but Jesus conquered them all through the cross.

The enemy seems so powerful and so strong and so impossible to overcome, but their armor is taken away in Christ. Wear the Lord’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-20) like David did.

1 John 4:4 – Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

David and Goliath – Facing the Giants, Part 3

As we continue our unpacking of 1 Samuel 17, we can see David being run down by those in his life who should have been encouraging him. Here’s what is said by David’s oldest brother and by King Saul himself.

1 Samuel 17:28-33 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before. When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”

Don’t be distracted by naysayers on the sidelines.

Who of all people should have encouraged David as he went to face the Giant?

How about his brothers? Yes, they should have, but they didn’t. Eliab made fun of his little brother and called into question David’s motives. You can see why God refused Eliab (see 1 Samuel 16:6-7). What was Eliab doing about Goliath? Nothing but tucking tail and running like the rest. So how do you think Eliab liked it when his little kid brother comes from watching sheep saying he could take on Goliath? That didn’t go over well, did it? Those who are sitting on their hineys doing nothing have all kinds of comments about those who are standing up and facing the Goliaths of the world.

How about the king himself, King Saul? If anyone should have been an encouragement to the man who offered to take on Goliath, it should have been the King of Israel, but that’s not what happened. Remember that Israel wanted a king to go out and fight their battles for them (1 Samuel 8), but King Saul isn’t facing Goliath, is he? And what words does the King have for David? “You can’t do it! Goliath is too much for you, you are not even close to being able to do this.”

This happens today, too. Sometimes those who are older are not as encouraging as they should be to the younger. In fact, Paul had to encourage Timothy not to be swayed or discouraged by those who would “despise” or “look down upon” his youth (1 Timothy 4:12). There are times when the younger person is reminding the older ones about faith, courage and the proper way to behave. That is exactly what Paul told Timothy to do. Timothy was to be an example to the believers and that includes those who are older. We all need reminders, don’t we? Even if we are older, and even if those who are reminding us are much younger, we still need to accept the lessons God is sending our way. David was probably a teenager, and King Saul was older (not sure how much older), but David was showing the King and all of Israel what real faith looks like.

What does David do with all of this negativity? Here is a great quote, and I’m not sure who first said it…

“In order to lead the orchestra, you must first turn your back on the crowd.”

David had to turn his back on the negativity and keep his focus on God’s strength. Verse 30 says that David “turned away” from his brother and kept asking about the reward. David had to move away from the negativity and keep his eyes focused on God and on the reward for following God.

Draw from past victories, don’t just sit on them.

David answered Saul’s negativity and discouragement by focusing on what God had already done for David.

1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

God had already worked amazing things in the life of David. With God’s strength, David had already struck down and killed lions and bears. What was a giant to the God who helped him kill such dangerous creatures? David was able to look back on what God had already done for him and draw strength for the next battle. This is what we need to do, too! What has God already done for you, with you and through you? Meditate upon the amazing things God has done for you already. If He helped you then, will he help you now? Of course God will. He promised it!

Remember that God’s victories He has worked through you are not intended to be used as trophies filling a case, they are intended to give you strength and courage to face the next Giant.

Hebrews 13:6 – So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

David and Goliath – Facing the Giants, Part 1

Friends, I apologize for no Men’s Daily Briefing for last Tuesday through Friday. There was a communication breakdown on my part while I was on vacation.

For the next few days I would like to look at the Battle between David and Goliath. I encourage you to read 1 Samuel 17 and reflect upon it. This is not just a little kids’ story, it is a wonderful picture of a real event that God gives us to show how we can conquer any giant with God’s help.

Today’s briefing looks at the first part of this text. The enemies of God, the Philistines, were camping on God’s land and taunting Him and His people. This took place for 40 days.

Enemies of God camped on God’s land!

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.
(1 Samuel 17:1)

Notice that the Philistines are camping in a land that “belongs to Judah.” This was the property of God and His people, and yet the enemy was waging a war there.

Also pay attention to the fact that when Goliath, the great intimating and impressive warrior, came to mock Israel, he did it for 40 days, saying the same words morning and evening.

40 Days, 80 Times, Same Words, God’s Land

The enemies of God were taunting Israel and their God for 40 days, morning and evening, saying the same words. Quick math will tell you that at least 80 times Israel heard these mocking words. Remember they are camping on God’s property. They are not shouting from a safe distance on their own land, they are right in the living room of the people of God.

He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
(1 Samuel 17:8-11)

For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.
(1 Samuel 17:16)

As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.
(1 Samuel 17:23)

What was the result at this point? The great King Saul was afraid, and so were all the men of Israel. Remember that the people wanted a king to go out and fight their battles (1 Samuel 8:1), and God gave them King Saul. But where is King Saul? Cowering with the rest of his men.

Here is the main point for today, men. Satan and all his forces are camping on God’s property. They are not taunting you from a safe distance in their own land, they are right in your living room. They are on your computer and on your phone. They are in your mind. They are in your church. They are fighting to break up your marriage. They are seeking to destroy your kids and your relationship with your kids. They are at work seeking to corrupt you with materialism and unfaithfulness. Satan is defying God and His people and he is sending out his “giants” to say we cannot overcome those giants.

Are you and I going to be the Saul’s who cower, hide and do nothing to face those giants? Or are you and I going to be like David who saw the reproach coming to God and Israel through this Giant and face it head on with God’s strength?

More coming tomorrow, Lord willing.

How is that scolding working out for you?

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(Ephesians 6:4)

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
(Proverbs 15:1)

I’m reading a book called “The Power of the Other,” written by Dr. Henry Cloud. I appreciate my good friend Andy Harrison recommending this book to me. In the chapter I was reading yesterday, he was talking about the Brain and Feedback. I wanted to share a brief quotation with you for today.

“Have you ever been yelled at, put down, or scolded when someone was ostensibly helping you get better at something? Remember how you felt? Of course you do: horrible-ashamed, afraid, anxious, sad, angry, and/or closed off. What stood out most to you in that moment-the feedback itself, or how you were feeling about it, the other person, or yourself? No doubt you were much more in touch with how you were feeling-awful-than with what was being said. The actual issue, what was truly important, was no longer what you were focused on.

There’s a reason for that. In highly charged emotional moments, the part of your brain that gets tapped for action is called the amygdala. Chemicals get released there that interfere with learning. Threat of any kind can trigger a fight-or-flight reaction, which is not focused at all on learning, only on protecting oneself. Hence the “checked-out” expression on a teenager’s face while being scolded. In those moments, a dose of adrenaline floods over brains, producing anxiety, and we literally go blank. Whenever we’re in fight-or-flight mode, we can’t absorb feedback and improve our self-control and learning.”

Dr. Henry Cloud, “The Power of the Other,” p. 117-118

Take some time to think about this.

Yes there is a time for corrective measures, rebuke and punishments, but we also need to realize the times when what we are doing and how we are doing it as parents may not be working at all. The reactions we are getting from our kids may be a result of how we are addressing the matter at hand. We are getting the exact opposite reactions we desire because of our own approach.

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
(Proverbs 16:21-24)

Is your approach as a father one of wisdom, calmness, mercy and patience? Or are the lectures and scolding shutting down learning and keeping real growth and communication from happening?

As always, if you need help and growth in these areas, I encourage you to sit down with or talk on the phone to a wise godly father who can help you walk through these things. Those wise godly fathers/grandfathers can help walk you through how to improve your communication and approach.

Is This a Uniquely Christian Concept? Part 4

We continue our consideration of whether Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount was a “new” teaching. Were concepts like turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and love your neighbor uniquely Christian concepts that were foreign to the Law of Moses? No.

Let’s look into this further.

In the Old Testament, was it okay to constantly fight and litigate every issue in court? (Matthew 5:25)

…do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.
(Proverbs 25:8-10)

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
(Proverbs 17:14)

A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.
(Proverbs 18:6)

In the Old Testament, was it okay to keep from turning the other cheek? Is turning the other cheek a uniquely Christian concept? (Matthew 5:38-39)

Several examples are in the Old Testament of those who turned the other cheek: Job (Job 16:10), Micaiah (1 Kings 22:24), and the prophecy of Jesus (Isaiah 50:6). David turned the other cheek with King Saul (1 Samuel 24:10-15), and was taught by Abigail to do so toward Nabal (1 Samuel 25:31-34).

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust– there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.
(Lamentations 3:25-33)

You can see from the Old Testament passages, God (Jesus) expected the Jew to turn the other cheek and to be quick to resolve conflicts. Jesus was not introducing a new standard of conduct that He did not always expect from His people.

More to come later..

Is This a Uniquely Christian Concept? Part 1

Is This a Uniquely Christian Concept? Part 2

Is This a Uniquely Christian Concept? Part 3

Kindling Strife – The Fire Tetrahedron

Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife (Proverbs 26:18-21).

I’ve been taught that fire needs three things: fuel, oxygen and heat. But I know a firefighter (Jason) who corrected me on this. It is actually a fire tetrahedron: along with fuel, oxygen and heat there is a fourth element called a chemical chain reaction. If you knock one of these out, you don’t have a fire.

A fight needs the same four things: inflammatory words, people to say and repeat them, folks to react to them, and hot tempers. It doesn’t take much to start a fire, and it is pretty easy for people to fight.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell (James 3:5-6).

This is what brings down nations, splits churches, destroys the workplace environment and causes the home to fall apart.

Here are some passages about the heat, fuel, oxygen and chemical chain reactions that cause fires in our relationships. Let’s meditate upon this today, men.

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body (Proverbs 18:8; 26:22).

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (James 4:1)

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler (Proverbs 20:19).

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly (Proverbs 15:1-2).

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression (Proverbs 29:22).

Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame (Proverbs 18:12-13).

Two Unhealthy Responses to Anger

Now when King David heard of all these matters, he was very angry. But Absalom did not speak to Amnon either good or bad; for Absalom hated Amnon because he had violated (raped) his sister Tamar (2 Samuel 13:21-22).

Amnon, a son of King David, had just raped his half-sister, Tamar. This act was vile and premeditated, and Amnon (even if he was royalty) should have been punished.

Two men close to this situation, however, had two unhealthy responses to anger. Their anger was clearly justified, but how each of these two men dealt with it was destructive. I believe we can gain some valuable insight here as men of Christ.

Two Unhealthy Responses to Anger
  • David’s inaction. King David was “very angry” as you see in the above passage. Very angry…but did absolutely nothing. Maybe it was because he was guilty of adultery and murder himself. Maybe it was because Amnon was his firstborn son. Regardless, he did nothing. It is my belief, that David’s inaction led to Absalom’s plan to murder Amnon.
  • Absalom plotted his revenge. This was his sister. They had David as a father and they had the same mother.  He said nothing good or bad to Amnon. His hatred led to silent scheming, waiting for the right moment to strike back. Absalom successfully conspired with others to murder Amnon. He had a right to be angry, but he took it way too far.

Both men were right to be angry. How could you not be angry when someone is raped? There are many times when we have a right to be angry, but we err in how to deal with what caused the anger.

As men in congregations, we will be faced with situations that create anger. It happened to Jesus (Mark 3:5). But what do you do when you are angry? Do you push it aside or suppress it? Do you ignore the problem, thinking it will go away? Do you fail to approach the brother or sister that is causing the problem because of fear or insecurity? Do you sulk and mope around giving people at church the “silent treatment”? Or are you like Absalom, figuring out clever ways to strike back and make others pay for their wrongdoings?

In David and Absalom we observe two unhealthy responses to anger, and we can learn from their mistakes. May we meditate on healthy, God-approved ways to deal with our anger.

Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:26-27).