An Evil Report involves the distortion of facts or false information. It is given with wrong motivations and causes the Hearer to come to inaccurate conclusions and to respond with unscriptural “solutions.”
Listening to an evil-report results in defilement – Proverbs 16:28 “A Whisperer separates chief friends.” Carrying an evil report to another person, is so destructive that it can destroy long-lasting friends. However, wrong doing should never be covered over but the exercise of correction is to be with God’s Wisdom, in a Scriptural manner – Galatians 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass (sin), you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
From God’s Word, “an evil-report” could be classified into:
- Whisperer – The person who secretly or privately passes “an evil-report” to others – Psalm 41:7 “All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt.” The person is also called “a Gossiper” (Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 26:22).
- Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels (crumbs)they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”
- Proverbs 26:22 (NIV) “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels (crumbs); they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”
- Gossip – The person who magnifies and sensationalizes rumors and partial information – Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a talebearer (gossip) are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.”
- Slanderer – The person who seeks to destroy another’s credibility or reputation with damaging facts, distortions of facts, or evil suspicions – Numbers 14:36 “Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain him (Moses) by bringing a bad (evil) report of the land (Promised Land).”
- Lucifer (later called Satan) slandered God and caused one-third of the Angelic Hosts to Fall (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:4).
- Satan is the Slanderer (Accuser) of the brethren (Christians – Revelation 12:10b).
- Busybody – The person who digs up “an evil-report” and makes it his business to spread them by means of gossip, slander, or whispering. Such an action is associated with the sin of murder or stealing as shown in 1Peter 4:15 “Let none of you suffer as a murderer or as a thief or as an evildoer or as a busybody in other men’ matters.”
1.3 Failure to Understand
The person who spreads “an evil-report” does not take heed of the damages that could result – 2 Corinthians 2:11 “Satan will gain an advantage over us if we are ignorant of his devices.” Satan’s scheme is to spread “an evil-report” and create division amongst the brethren – James 3:6 “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (lawlessness)……it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”
- Failed to Understand of how the unclean defiles the clean, rather than the clean influencing the unclean – Haggai 2:11-13 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy’ Then the priests answered and said, ‘No.’ And Haggai said, it one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?’”
- Failed to Understand of how “an evil-report” destroys close friendship – Proverbs 17:9 “He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates good friends.”
- Failed to Understand of what constitutes “an evil-report?” – “An evil-report” is an unauthorized or distorted report which influences us to form a poor or unwarranted opinion about another person – Proverbs 26:24-25 “He that hates dissembled with his lips, and lays up deceit within him, when he speaks fair, believe him not; for there are seven abominations in his heart.”
- Failed to Understand the nature behind “an evil-report,” is self-seeking and self-promotion – James 3:14-16 “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
- Bitterness – Reacting because of personal hurts.
- Rebellion – Justifying an independent spirit.
- Deception – Believing that “an evil-report” is the right thing to give.
- Pride – Self-seeking and wanting to exalt-justify-self.
- Guilt – Justifying past actions or attitudes.
- Envy – Desiring what another has.
- Failed to Understand how susceptible we are to “an evil-report” – We enjoy hearing “an evil-report” because it puts down another person; this attitude is part of human Fallen-Nature – Proverbs 14:15 “The simple (fool) believes every word; but the prudent man looks well to his going.”
- Failed to Understand that Satan uses “an evil-report” to damage and ultimately destroy a person or the ministry – Proverbs 26:21 “As coal are to burning and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”
- To discredit spiritual leadership.
- To cause Christians to close their hearts toward each other.
- To multiply conflicts and produce ungodliness.