The Reading: Proverbs 6:16-19
“a man who sows discord among brothers” (v.19) RSV
Over the last week we have been looking at things that God hates and abominates. They have all been to do with spoiling relationships: pride, lying, murder, false witness, plotting evil, etc. Today we come to the last of the list of seven in Proverbs 6:16-19. God’s commandments are that we love one another, even our enemies. So naturally he will be displeased when we start to destroy one another.
One way to do this is to be a spreader of discord. For some reason some people love to drop in a juicy morsel of gossip, or in some way to put in the wooden spoon and stir it up. A proverb says: “He who goes about gossiping reveals secrets” (Proverbs 20:19). The gossip we spread may or may not be true, but it’s usually not in the best interests of the person(s) in question.
Slander is another way to stir up trouble. The Church at Smyrna suffered from this malicious and hurtful attack. Jesus says: “I know your tribulations … and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9). This passages links slander with the activity of Satan. The Greek word diabolos means slanderer.
The Corinthian church was split asunder by discord and party spirit. Paul wrote to them saying that he had heard that “there is quarrelling among you (1 Corinthians 1:11). The members of the church were despising those who were, in their estimation, inferior Christians. Either their baptism was inferior or their spiritual gifting was or their freedom in the Lord was! All this was destructive of harmony and love.
So, let us speak good of others, and let our conversations be seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). Our aim is to be peacemakers and reconcilers, not spreaders of harmful gossip. “Blessed are the peacemakers” said Jesus. It is so easy, so tempting to be catty, but if we want to sleep peacefully at night we need to be creative and wholesome.
Thank you Lord that your mission is one of reconciliation. Help me to speak words of peace and blessing. Amen.
1 Which two Christian women were at loggerheads?
2 How should we overcome discord among ourselves?