“You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him” Lev 19:16-17.
Tale-bearing emits a threefold poison; for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person about whom the tale is told. Whether the report is true or false, we are by this precept of God’s Word forbidden to spread it. The reputations of the Lord’s people should be very precious in our sight, and we should count it shameful to help the devil to dishonor the Church and the Name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur. Many glory in pulling down their brethren, as if thereby they raised themselves. Noah’s wise sons cast a mantle over their father, and he who exposed him earned a fearful curse Gen9:21-27. We may ourselves one of these dark days need forbearance and silence from our brethren, let us render it cheerfully to those who require it now. Let this be our family rule and our personal bond SPEAK EVIL OF NO MAN.
The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christ like, and carries God’s blessings. Does the flesh hate to do it? Yes. Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by suffering sin upon our friend we become ourselves partakers of it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful ministers and brethren. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in his warning given to Peter, the prayer with which he preceded it, and the gentle way in which he bore with Peter’s boastful denial that he needed such a caution.
Lord Jesus, Your words are the kind of words I want to speak; words permeated with the grace of God. Please forgive me for the many words I have expressed that were corrupted by my own fleshly wisdom or selfish interests. I humbly ask You to season my speech with heavenly righteousness and godly insight. I long to impart edifying grace to all who hear me speak. In Your holy name, I pray. Amen.