1.0 The Exposure
Exposure to “an evil-report” means entering into conversation and empathize with the person who is the Carrier of “an evil-report.”
- God Desires – God desires that the Individual be the Prudent Person, who does not entertain “an evil-report” – Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple (fool) pass on and are punished.”
- God Warns – Psalm 101:5 “Whosoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.”
- God Expects – How does we respond to God’s Expectation – Romans 16:17 “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine (teaching) which you learned, and avoid them.”
1.1 Discernment – How do we discern and detect the Carrier of “an evil-report:”
- He Tests our spirit – The Carrier of “an evil-report” will usually test our spirit before giving us “the evil-report.” – Any evidence of a compatible spirit in us will encourage the Carrier to give us “the evil-report.” – 2Corinthians 12:20b “Backbiting, whispering, conceits…..”
- He Tests our Acceptance – The Carrier of “an evil-report” will usually check our acceptance of his “feed-back,” before giving the full-report to us. He may do this by asking for our opinion about the Person or Church, or dropping a negative comment and observes our response to it – Absalom, David’s son used an innocent sounding evil report to steal the hearts of almost an entire Nation of Israel and leads it in revolt against his own father, King David (2Samuel 15:1-6) – “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2Samuel 15:6b).
- He Creates Curiosity – The Carrier of “an evil-report” will often get us to ask for the details of “the evil-report” by creating curiosity for it. Some starters are: “Have you heard about (this person)?” “Wait till I tell you about (this person)!” – Psalm 41:7-8 “All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt. An evil disease, they say, ‘cling to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.’”
- He Shares Concern? – The Carrier of “an evil-report” may get our attention by asking us for our counsel or by sharing a concern for the Person involved – this is a subtle deception, used by Satan on Adam’s wife, Eve (Genesis 3:1-6).
- He Has Privileged Information? – The Carrier of “the evil-report” try to get us interested because he has “the inside-privileged information” –Shemaiah, who was working, as a Secret Informer, for the Opposers (Sanballat, Tobiah) who were against Nehemiah, tried to persuade Nehemiah that he has “secret-information” of the people who wanted to kill him (Nehemiah 6:10-14).
To avoid contamination by “an evil-report” we need God’s Written Word (Scripture) and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, by sensing His (Spirit’s) promptings and be opened to the Counsel of God’s Leaders in His House. To detect “an evil-report;” these are five questions that we should ask before listening to the Carrier of “the evil-report:”
- “What is his/her personal reason for telling us?” – Widening the circle of gossip can only increase the problem.
- “Where did he/she get his/her information?” – Refusal to identify the source of the information is a sure signal of “an evil-report.”
- “Have he/she gone to the Person directly to clarify?” – Spirituality is not measured by how well we expose an Offender, but by how effectively we restore an Offender – Matthew 18:15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him/her his fault between you and him ALONE. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Galatians 6:1-4).
- “Have he/she personally checked out all of the facts?” – Even “facts” become distorted when not balanced with other facts or when given with negative motives.
- “Can he/she be quoted if we check this out?” – The person who gives “an evil-report” often claim that he/she is “misquoted.” This is because his/her words and overriding impressions are reported, which may be distorted!