Readings for the Day
Proverbs 25-27, Romans 15
Verses for the Day
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up."
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
The verse from Romans 15 and the Proverbs from chapter 26 teach us how and how not relationships should function in the body of Christ. In Romans, we see that those who are strong need to bear the burdens of the weak, and seek to build them up. Paul later says in this way we model how Jesus gave his life for us. Instead of kicking people when they are down, we take special care to lift them up.
Then, in the Proverbs, we see how destructive gossip is. We all know there is plenty of gossip that can go on in the church. The problem with gossip is that it destroys the fellowship we have as brothers and sisters in Christ. While it may be like "choice morsels going down", gossip only pollutes the community of believers. Gossip usually happens when someone wants to feel better about themselves by cutting someone down.
As we teach our Junior High students, "You can't make your own candle brighter by blowing someone else's out!"
Instead of putting someone down, we need to defend our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as Luther says, "make the best possible construction on their behavior." After all, we are all sinners and may need to be similarly built up sometime very soon.
Who do you need to build up today? Who is someone who needs encouragement in Christ? Whose reputation can you defend today, instead being a party to tearing it down? As a believer in Christ, this is how we should act as a follower our Lord, who when we were down lifted us up from the pit.