This Sunday we read an important set of readings about what it means to truly be Christian. So many people proclaim that they are Christians, yet they lack the actually fruit of the Gospel in their lives. They promote themselves as the sole purveyor of “truth” and the only spokesperson of God. Sadly, they rarely know the truth and they preach a message that is far from the message of Jesus.
These same individuals peddle in gossip, one of the things Paul preaches against when addressing the churches in Thessaloniki. “We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.” (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 NRSV) Those that spread gossip tend to only spread the “truth” that makes them seem righteous. They fail to point out the “truth” that makes them look like the liar, abuser, and anti-Christian person that they actually are.
“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:12-19 NRSV)
The people who continue to spread gossip are the ones that Jesus was talking about in the Gospel. They are the friends and family members who will turn us over to be persecuted and killed for the true Gospel of Jesus which teaches love, a second chance for all sinners, and respect for those who struggle to help others in need. Sadly, many of those same people who judge us and demand that we be killed for our perceived sins have themselves demanded to be given second and third chances when they fall down. They are the ones who come running when their loved ones are arrested for actual, documented crimes and want us to help to get them out of prison. Yet, when we are falsely accused, they spread gossip and lies.
The saving grace in all this is that God sees the heart. And when it is all said and done, God will preserve us from falling and save us from their hatred and lies. This is why we continue to move forward with the call of Christ to love one another as he has loved us. We continue to help those most in need. And we will continue to give second chances to those harmed by society. And when our judgement day comes, we pray that we will hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
God Bless you all,