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Church Leaks

The title may sound like the roof needs repairing, but the lesson is about a more serious problem.

The nation of Syria was at war with Israel in the days of Elisha. Every time the Syrians planned to attack in a certain place, the prophet told the king of Israel to avoid it. But the king of Syria didn’t know that the man of God was revealing their location. He called his men and asked, “Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?” (II Kings 6:11). He thought one of his own soldiers was an informant.

We have heard of many cases of someone in a political circle leaking information to the press. Perhaps none of these instances has caused a commotion like the recent Supreme Court leak regarding Roe v. Wade.

The uproar we are seeing reminds us of what the Bible says about the power of words for good or evil. “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity” that “sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). It only takes a few words to do permanent damage: “See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (James 3:5). The tongue can separate the best of friends (Prov. 16:28). It can ruin a man’s life (I Kings 21:7-13). This is why the book of Proverbs warns us so often about what we say. “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Prov. 21:23). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). Christians need to remember these warnings when they talk to others, text, or post something on social media.

The leak from the high court should also remind us to be confidential. When we promise to keep a matter private we are duty bound to our conscience and before God to keep our word. It is a matter of honesty. It is a question of character. But few people are confidential even in the church. Very personal conversations and things said in private meetings can quickly spread because of a loose tongue. A case of this happened in a church years ago before the days of cell phones. The leaders of the congregation and the preacher met about a situation in the church and agreed that whatever was said would stay in the room. Before the preacher could get home people were already calling his house about something that was said in the meeting! Reporters and journalists in the mainstream media are not the only ones who delight in “repeating a matter” (Prov. 17:9).

The wise man teaches us to be confidential and careful about what we tell. “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil” (Prov. 15:28). “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Prov. 29:11). It can be tempting to divulge a confidential matter, but our integrity is at stake and we should curb our tongue. People may get a thrill out of hearing information that was supposed to be kept private, but they never respect the informant.

Finding a person you can trust is hard in times of apostasy. The nation of Judah was in great moral decay in Micah’s time. He said, “Do not trust in a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom” (Micah 7:5). There are times when many Christians can relate to these words. But you can make a difference. You can be one of those rare people that others trust.


West End church of Christ bulletin article for June 19, 2022


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