This is the final article in my six part series on Church Restoration. This topic is such an important matter in the body of Christ as relationships are daily being damaged and destroyed because of failing to follow Christ 's steps in relationships. When a person fails to adhere to what Jesus has instructed in Matthew 18:15-17, a person becomes guilty of spreading an "Evil Report." There are seven types of evil reports as explained in the Bible which I quote from Dr. Michael Sedler's book, "Stop the Runaway Conversation -Take Control over Gossip and Criticism" (pp 80-86). Read carefully the following seven types of "Evil Reporters" and see where you have been or still are guilty of injuring the body of Christ. All of us have been guilty in the past and many of us are still hurting people, sometimes unintentionally. I do not want you to suffer condemnation over reading these types of actions that people are involved in, but I do wish for all people to understand the damage it has and is causing in relationships. People need to make a conscious effort; a top priority to change our habits and allow our mouth to be used to bring peace instead of division in the Church.
1. The Backbiter: One who speaks against an absent individual. The backbiter, to be sure, does not follow the Matthew 18 principle of reconciliation. All criticisms and comments, as the name implies, are made without the accused being present or behind his back. Psalms 15:2-3 speaks of this type of individual. Here David asks God who may dwell in His presence: “He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend.” The word used for backbiters in Romans 1:30 is the word katalaos (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #2637), which means “talkative against.” Let me quote Romans 1:28-30 so you may get the full impact of this word. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents” (NKJV). The Bible places backbiters in the same company as the haters of God. Clearly God’s people are to avoid these situations (see also Proverbs 25:23; 2 Corinthians 12:20).
2. The Busybody: One who seeks out information on a false report and spreads it by means of gossip, slander, backbiting, etc. God takes this very seriously. In fact, He equates being a busybody with being an evildoer or even a killer. Some of you think this is mere sensationalism or exaggeration, but it is true; I have it on good authority. Look at I Peter 4:15: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (emphasis added). The idea of a busybody is also found in I Timothy 5:13: “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not” (Emphasis added). The Greek word for busybodies is periergos (Strong’s #4021) and can be interpreted as “curious arts.” In the neuter plural form of this word, the definition is “magic.” This suggests that a person can weave a spell over another person by being a busybody. While we often think of a female as being a busybody, the Bible does not differentiate by sex. A male as well as a female can fall into this trap and become a tool of the devil. 2 Thessalonians 3:11: “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.”
3. The Complainer: One who finds fault. This type of person often uses a personal situation as a platform for his or her complaint. “I was treated unfairly.” “Do you know what this person did?" “You think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me.” Because the complainer shares from a personal perspective, the story embraces the emotions and creates an atmosphere of sympathy for the speaker’s cause. Then we rush headlong down the track of foolishness, our willingness to listen leading us to a greater opportunity to be defiled and contaminated by this person. We must untangle our emotional connections to the complainer and recognize the violation of our spirits by the complaining individual. “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused” (Numbers 11:1, emphasis added). God will neither condone nor bless the complaining spirit. The complainer’s motivation is to gain an advantage, be it spiritual, emotional or mental. Be aware of this subtle (and not so subtle) way of drawing you in. Jude 16: "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage."
4. The Murmurer: One who grumbles. We find that this person is usually complaining but only loud enough for those in close proximity to hear. In fact it may be so soft that a nearby person inadvertently asks him to repeat the offensive comment. The murmuring person is seldom happy or pleased with the outcome of situations. Like the complainer, he looks for faults and then justifies a bad attitude with his comments. Consistent with His focus, God speaks clearly to this type of behavior; “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14, KJV, emphasis added). One of the clearest examples in Scripture of grumbling and murmuring is found in the sixteenth chapter of Numbers. This is the story of Korah and his rebellion against Moses. How did Korah get hundreds of people to agree with him that Moses was simply exalting himself over the other Israelites? The Bible tells us that these were not just people of the congregation, but they were “leaders… men of renown” (Numbers 16:2). Can you see it happening? Perhaps Korah was jealous of Moses and Aaron. Perhaps Korah wanted more authority, recognition or power. Regardless of his motives, his methods are easily discerned. “Moses never treats us fairly.” A person walking by might say, “What was that, Korah?” Once we identify these people, their methods, their intents, their ways become clear to us. Korah simply went about poisoning the people and contaminating as many leaders as would listen to him. The end result was death to all those who opposed the positions that God had given to Moses and Aaron and, therefore, opposed God. How grateful and relieved the people must have been who said, “Korah, you are murmuring and I will not be a party to that type of conversation”—especially after Korah and his group were swallowed by the earth! They were as relieved as you will be after you face an encounter with a murmurer and turn from his foolishness (see also Jude 16).
5. The Slanderer: An individual who tries to injure someone’s reputation or character by false and defamatory statements. “And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land” (Numbers 14:36, KJV, emphasis added). The word used in this Scripture for slander is the Hebrew word dibbah, which specifically means “evil report.” Jeremiah speaks of those who slander in referring to the neighboring lands: “They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers” (Jeremiah 6:28, emphasis added). This particular word means “scandal monger.” An individual who slanders people is scandalous in God’s eyes. This type of person may want to destroy or defame a reputation in order to be elevated in business, recognition or honor. The slanderer cannot be trusted to give accurate information as his or her sole purpose appears to be self-serving. It is easy to see how slanderers defile and contaminate those who listen to their speech. It is for this reason that Paul includes them in his admonition about the qualifications of a deacon: “Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things” (I Timothy 3:11, emphasis added). Solomon, the wisest man in the land, wrote about the slanderer in Proverbs 10:18. He did not mince words: “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool” (emphasis added; see also Psalms 101:5; Jeremiah 9:4).
6.The Talebearer (or Gossip): A person who elaborates and exaggerates so as to make a story more dramatic (or “juicy”). “A talebearer revealeth secrets; but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (Proverbs 11:13, KJV, emphasis added). Just as God speaks seriously about the consequences and repercussions for those involved in an evil report, so He gives us specific guidelines to follow in our lives so as to avoid the pitfalls of the above behavior. Leviticus 19:16, in speaking about the covenantal laws of morality, states: “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” (emphasis added). Romans 1:28-30 describes the situation where people refused to acknowledge the authority of God in their lives. Their refusal to honor, to worship and give thanks to the Lord, led God to turn them over to their own sinful natures: “Since these people refused even to think about God, He let their useless minds rule over them. That’s why they do all sorts of indecent things. They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip, say cruel things to others, and hate God” (CEV).
If we associate with gossips and talebearers, we will become loose with our own tongues. The willingness to “discuss” other people becomes more a matter of habit than conscious choice. The more we are exposed to this, the more we contaminate our spirits. The Hebrew word for gossip and talebearer is closely associated with the word used for a whisperer (see number seven below). (See also Proverbs 18: 8; 20:19; 26:20, 22; I Timothy 5:13).
7. The Whisperer: An individual who talks about other people privately, secretly and covertly in order to hurt them. Most of us have experienced the pain of association with the whisperer. This person uses the soft, hushed voice of secrecy to plot another’s demise. Proverbs 16: 28 states: “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (emphasis added). A whisper seems so innocent, so casual, even innocuous, yet it can destroy a person as it spreads like a wildfire. One use of the word whisperer can be found in Psalms 41:7 when David writes: “All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise [plot] my hurt” (emphasis added). The Hebrew word lachash is used in this context for whisperer. It means to “mumble a spell (as a magician)—a charmer” (Strong’s # 3907). When I read this, it was a wake-up call. I realized that there may be people who are cursing * me and casting a spell over me via their whispers. I am now able to engage in spiritual warfare to protect myself and my family against such words.
Notice how many of the words from the previous seven examples are linked together by their Greek or Hebrew roots. Take note in particular of the words that are connected to the idea of spells and magic. This is witchcraft, plain and simple. We must begin to see evil reports for what they are--manipulation, curses, spells, accusations, magic...again, witchcraft!
* Note: The area of blessing and cursing is spoken of throughout the Bible (see Psalm 10:7; 59:12; Romans 3:14). It is important to guard our lips against speaking negatively or evil of another (cursing). There is power in our words. "Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so" (James 3:10).
Dear Church, the Scriptures are so very clear. If we talk about a fellow believer that we have ought with and say anything except positive comments, we commit sin. There is no justification or excuse in God's eyes for telling someone else your complaint about the person in question. Also, the person who listens to this complainer is just as guilty, as they assist in separating and dividing the brethren. Below is a list of eight identifying actions of Evil Reporters according to the book, "Stop the Runaway Conversation" pp 24-32.
1. The messenger will look for support from you for her beliefs, attitudes or actions. Esther 3:8-9
2. Messengers with an evil report will try to distract you from a God-given focus or course of action. Nehemiah 6:10-13
3. One who carries a false report will attempt to create disunity and division. Luke 20:19-20
4. An individual who conveys negative reports often shows anger when you disagree with him. John 12:3-8
5. A messenger sharing information that will violate your spirit will often approach with an apparently demure and modest attitude. By appearing to need your advice and guidance, she might portray herself as unable to figure something out. Nehemiah 6:5-7
6. A transporter of negative information will attempt to show off his power, strength or authority. Matthew 4:8-9
7. The individual will flatter you and praise you...The praise or flattery prepares a listener to receive the report by creating a more receptive spirit..."soften us." Proverbs 20:19
8. The messenger of an evil report will often embellish and exaggerate a situation to make it seem worse than it really is. Numbers13:32-33, Proverbs11:9, Psalm 140:3
Below are six signs of deception according to the book, "Stop the Runaway Conversation" pp 144-151.
Sign #1: Those who are deceived point out others who are in similiar deception and use them as justification for their own sins. They will use evil reports as a way to support their own deceptive patterns (Esther 5:14). The pattern is clear: An evil report is given, people align themselves with the offended individual and become defiled. In turn, in their own deception, they become a part of the murmuring and gossip. Haman's friends added fuel to the fire of defilement.
Sign #2: Those who are deceived actively seek out false or evil reports about others (see Proverbs 16:27, Matthew 9:10-11; 12:2,10,14).
Sign #3: Those who are deceived seek out others to agree with them (see Acts 23:12-13).
Sign #4: Those who are deceived believe they are doing the will of God by coming against others (see Psalm 55:12-14).
Sign #5: Those who are deceived refuse to receive counsel because "everyone else is wrong" (see Proverbs 11:14).
Sign #6: Those who are deceived isolate themselves from godly contacts with friends, family and leadership (see Titus 1:15-16). Think about it. Why would a person who is self-focused, self-centered or in rebellion want to be around people who are challenging him to seek God for guidance? When you see a person pulling back, refusing fellowship...isolating himself...watch out! This is a person who is walking on the road of deception.
I have seen this happen repeatedly. A person in fellowship with another individual begins listening to an evil report and without the courtesy of meeting with his friend, relative or pastor, refuses to even meet with the innocent person because of becoming defiled! Please read Exodus 23:1, Numbers 14:36-37, Proverbs 18:6-8, James 3:8-12.
Proverbs 17:4 describes a person who breaks fellowship with his friend or his pastor etc., because he has listened to a person with an offense who now is spreading evil reports because of his pride: "An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue."
Saints , we must stop listening to people who separate the brethren by spreading their evil reports because of their own problems. They are Korahs, Absaloms, and Judas's who cause all who listen to them to become defiled and become just as guilty as they are. Deception is refusing to investigate and listen to the truth because they have become defiled by listening to lies from a person spreading evil reports. This type of person is a separator of the brethren and must be recognized by all as such.
Dr. Jonathan Hansen
WORLD MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
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Church Restoration is an extremely important responsibility in the Body of Christ. I believe the reason why the church is so very weak in this area is because most congregations are not being taught how to confront sin or restore relationships through the Scriptures. Also, many believers do not watch personal role modeling by their pastors or other leaders in their lives. Proper confrontation is a mandate by God whereas improper discussion of the problem and subject is a sin often committed both by church leadership as well as their congregations. This is a primary tool of the enemy to cause a church split or create an ineffective body of believers. Proverbs 17:9 warns, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends” (KJV). “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (NIV). Most people do not seem to care about the feelings of other people or the reputations of other leaders. They spread “hearsay information” without having the love or courage to go to the person in question first, and they give all the excuses which these articles explain to justify their disobedience to the Scriptures. Many times, church leaders are just as guilty, if not more guilty than most of their parishioners and they wonder why there are problems in the church. They fail to understand the laws of “sowing and reaping.”
These teachings are based solely on the anointed, inspired Word of God. They should increase your conviction and motivation to join in this great battle.
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Love, Joy and Peace, Jonathan Hansen
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