Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Proverbs 25:23 commentary; the menace of backbiting

23 ¶ The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

Backbiting is mentioned in various places. It is mentioned as one of the sins of mankind that resulted in his worship of created things rather than the Creator. Read the context.

Romans 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

It is considered doing evil against someone, taking up a reproach against them.

Psalm 15:3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

It’s a verbal sin which Paul warns about linked with envying and strife, debates and whisperings.

2Corinthians 12:20 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, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:

Now, if the Bible definition didn’t satisfy you we also have Webster’s 1828 dictionary which defines it as “to censure, slander, reproach, or speak evil of those who are absent.” This is usually done in churches, when not blatant, by asking for prayer for someone whose convictions or lack thereof you don’t approve of. For instance, they’re taking a vacation at Six Flags and you prefer Hershey Park because you heard something unChristian happened at Six Flags and they’re carnal for going there and not Hershey Park like you do so you ask for prayer over their carnality. You know how we are. You don’t like hunting but you approve of fishing so you come up with reasons why hunting is more worldly than fishing and Ms. Busybody asks for prayer for Mr. Hiawatha that he would be changed. That’s the way we do it, isn’t it, when we don’t blatantly talk about someone who is not here because their worldliness is not as acceptable as our self righteousness? That’s backbiting.

Without going into debates over climatology the north and its association with the direction that God’s judgment comes from has some other statements we might examine said about it. Among them are;

Job 37:22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.

The direction from which God’s judgment comes against Israel, either with other countries used, or by His own visitation is a very interesting study.

Matthew Henry said that sin is so conscious of its own shame that if it is opposed before it becomes daring it becomes cowardly. So it is with us if when we hear someone issue the whispering, backbiting, self righteous complaint about someone, if we immediately oppose it with an angry look we can put an end to it.

We must cut backbiting and gossip, its twin brother, off at the knees. It destroys congregations and runs people from the church. I know that a gracious exit can be made by the standard Baptist apology, “we’ve just decided its time to move on to another church”, but usually that is a code statement for “someone has been flapping their gums about us behind our back and we’re sick of their self righteous gossip.” Give the backbiter a stern look, refuse to hear, and walk away. I think God will be pleased.

No comments: