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Backbiting: How are we to avoid the sin of backbiting?

Gary Googe Apr 23

Certainly, some people just seem to like a good fight over whatever. But what are we told that our conduct is to be as believers? All kinds of statements are made in Scripture about how we’re to conduct ourselves.  There certainly is a well-defined manner of life God would have each of us to choose to live.

Romans 13:13-14

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting [KOMOS = having delight or “a good time”] and drunkenness, not in chambering [KOITE = denotes illicit intercourse] and wantonness [ASELGEIA = lasciviousness, lustful acts], not in strife [ERIS = contention, the expression of enmity] and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh [a reference to one’s sinful nature], to fulfil the lusts thereof. [Emphasis added]

Here we are told to habitually make decisions that are contrary to what our sinful nature would have us do. Can we work on doing this? Of course we can! Never believe anyone who tells you they can’t. Life is all about decisions. Choosing to make wise decisions is the key to developing a wonderful life.  And how do we learn what it is to make wise decisions? The one key to it all is to make a habit of studying and applying the things you learn from your Bible.  We’ve all been commanded to do this.

2 Peter 3:18

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]

Peter even tells us to focus on the writings of the apostle Paul for that.

2 Peter 3:15-16  

15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. [Emphasis added]

Then note what Paul says about what we’re to be doing in this.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study [SPOUDAZO = be diligent] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

If you’ve invested much time studying the things on this website, you know I refer to this verse of Scripture often.  Why is that? Because of its extreme importance! If you don’t know what it means to rightly divide the Scripture, please see my articles about it.  

Bible:  How should one study it?

Spiritual Growth:  What are three of the hardest words to utter?

Here are also the names of two of the video links.

#18 ~ Rightly Dividing the Scriptures – Part 1

#19 ~ Rightly Dividing the Scriptures – Part 2

Typing any of these in the search box on this website and tapping your enter key should take you to them.

Being a student of God’s Word who lives with a view toward applying it will make a huge difference in every area of your life.  What you don’t know WILL hurt you. Choosing to make bad decisions is certain to create a life you will not enjoy.  One such bad decision is this thing of backbiting.  Working at creating misery for others will surely create your own.

Galatians 6:7-9

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Then never give up on thinking and doing the right things.  There will eventually be a rich harvest.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. [Emphasis added]

Do you believe that? You had better! Whatever rewards you’ll get to enjoy forever are determined by this. Contrary to the beliefs of some, there will be no equality among believers in Heaven.  We’ll all have and get to enjoy a resurrection body with all the virtues of Christ’s resurrection body, but that’s where the likeness ends.  Reward for one’s productivity in life is a whole different matter.  Just know that the day is coming when you’ll stand before Christ and all your productivity will be evaluated for whatever rewards you are due.  Obviously, any time you spend backbiting is not rewardable.

2 Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. [Emphasis added]

For what will Christ wish to possibly reward you? Isn’t that an ongoing question we should all be asking ourselves? Again, I assure you that any backbiting you do in this life is not something for which you’ll be rewarded.  Paul gives warning about this in his letters more than once.

2 Corinthians 12:20

20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates [ERIS = strife, contention, the expression of enmity], envyings, wraths [THUMOS = hot anger], strifes, backbitings [KATALALIA = speaking against], whisperings [PSITHURISMOS = secret slander], swellings [PHUSIOSIS = puffed up pride], tumults [AKATASTASIA = commotions]: [Emphasis added]

You should never let any of these things be a part of your life. Another way Paul describes the life we’re to live speaks of “walking worthy of our vocation.” In fact, it is a statement about this that he makes when he introduces the so-called practical teaching of his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:1-3

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2 With all lowliness [TAPEINOPHROSUNE = humility] and meekness [PRAOTES = a non-disputing attitude], with longsuffering [MAKROTHUMIA = not short-tempered], forbearing [ANECHO = bearing with] one another in love;

All this is quite the opposite of wanting to get back at or get even with someone. Such thought and action accomplish nothing good.  People need to objectively realize that.  They’re just “spinning their wheels” so to speak, going nowhere good with their thinking.  Instead, they should do the following.

3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [Emphasis added]

Obviously, this can’t be accomplished by backbiting.  As long as you’re holding a grudge against someone who may have wronged you, this will never happen.  The problem will not be resolved.  What kind of damage, maybe even irreparable damage, are you doing to certain relationships? Is it worth it? Please bear in mind that it NEVER is.  Your situation is not an exception to this.

People have been known to do wild and crazy things when they’re engaged in backbiting.  They’re even capable of doing things they’ll later regret for as long as they live.  Why not trust our Lord to deal with them in whatever manner He sees fit?  Certainly, He knows all the details and is far more capable of bringing good out of the situation.  Isn’t that something we’re promised if we do that?

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [Emphasis added]

Paul gives us another verse that tells us practically the same thing.

Ephesians 1:11

11 In [or BY] whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [Emphasis added]

It has been said that this is like God turning lemon situations into lemonade.  Life can be bitter but when we’re able to realize that God can bring good to us, even in seemingly the worst of situations, we’re given cause to rejoice.

As I write this, I’m caused to recall the Bible story of Joseph, the patriarch Jacob’s son.  If you’re not familiar with that story, it is well worth your time to study it.  But after all the suffering his family put Joseph through, notice his comment to his evil brothers about the situation.

Genesis 50:19-20

19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

Even though he had all the power of Egypt behind him, he was not vengeful or backbiting, wanting to retaliate against his brothers for what they’d done to him.  He knew full well he was not the one to deal with them over what they’d done to him.  Note closely what he said to them.

20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. [Emphasis added]

Again, what a marvelous story! What a story full of lessons for us all!

Here was a man who had every so-called “reason” imaginable for backbiting.  But what a wonderful attitude he displayed! Joseph passed the test.  Will you, if or when you’re faced with such circumstances?

Backbiting speaks of the activity of attacking the character or reputation of a person who is not present or, to speak slanderously of one who is absent.  Is there someone you are angry with? Is there someone you want to get back at? Wouldn’t it be easier and far better on everyone for you to just drop the matter and let God handle it? I assure you that God can do a far better job with the situation than you ever could.  Don’t let bitterness destroy you! It has taken its toll on many people.  You need not be one of them.  Backbiting is a sin, and sin has never solved anything.  Furthermore, it has never made a bad situation better.  It won’t in your case either. Instead of trying to get back at someone, pray for them.  We can even close this article by rightfully taking a verse out of context from the Sermon on The Mount and relating it to this.  By doing this you’ll be a part of the solution to the situation rather than a part of the problem.

Matthew 5:44

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [Emphasis added]

The advice we find in God’s Word is always best.  This you can always believe!

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