Welcome to your evening coffee! While most of our devotional time together will be delivered in the mornings, sometimes life forces us to roll with the punches. In this case it simply means that we're here together tonight instead of this morning. And yes, I am drinking coffee right now. Judge me gently. I have small children. Join me and let's run to our Heavenly Father in worship, prayer, and Word. In His presence there is always more. Further up! Further in!
May our Heavenly Father call us closer to His side today. Father, as your draw us nearer to you, may we better understand you. As we know you more and more, may our hearts cling to yours. May we love what you love. May we hate what you hate. May we be disgusted by what disgusts you. And may we delight in you and in all that you delight in! Father, in the name of Jesus, and by the power of the Spirit, teach our hearts to be more like yours. Amen.
Your Evening Song: "Carry Me" by Needtobreathe (ft. Jon Foreman)
Your Evening Scripture: Psalm 101:5
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
I'm not sure exactly how I made it so long without knowing this harsh, hard reality. Perhaps as a child and young man I was too quick to trust others because I desperately wanted their approval. I think it's likely that I turned a blind eye to the brutal truth without even fully understanding what I was doing.
There are people who talk about me behind my back. There are people who gossip about me. Saying unkind things, perhaps untrue, or perhaps cruelly true. For most of my life I've given no thought as to what people say about me when I can't hear them.
Those days of ignorance are gone.
And at first, I couldn't stand it. It hurt. It broke my heart and made me both too deeply sad and too angry. And then, because God is faithful, and because He has taught me to wait on Him and trust in Him, He showed me His heart towards gossip.
God will destroy the one who gossips. And gossip grows, greedy and grasping and guiltlessly glaring, from out of an arrogant heart. And God will not endure them. He will destroy those who unrepentantly gossip. He will destroy those who get pleasure from gossip, eating their own disgusting word instead of living by God's Word. He will destroy them.
And my heart does not rejoice. I am instead stricken with a healthy, holy fear. Because the greatest being in the history of all history, the only un-caused, is so deeply disturbed and disgusted by this abomination called gossip that He promises to destroy those who live by it, who practice it, who seek perverse, sick joy in it.
This is God's response to gossip. Disgust and destruction.
What should our response be?
If we are guilty of gossip, then may God in His mercy and grace call out to us, "Repent!" And may we listen.
If we are not guilty of living out this perverse practice, then may we be a part of God's call to the gossip, "Repent!" And if they do repent, may we join our Heavenly Father in forgiving and restoring these people! But if they do not repent, then may we, disgusted by both the gossip and their unrepentance, having warned them, turn away and leave to the Lord.
May we be a people known as, "Loves what God loves."
And also "Hates what God hates."
And may the horror of gossip have no place in us.