Berean Studies / Ber08 - Evil speaking and Evil Surmising
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1. What is evil speaking?
2. How prevalent is this fault among even those who profess to be Christians?
3. What is the power of the tongue?
4. What is meant by a ‘tongue set on fire of gehenna’?
5. What are the baneful influences of evil speaking, and what are some of the excuses and subterfuges offered by the fallen ...
6. What is evil surmising and what is its relation to evil speaking?
7. What are ‘secret faults,’ and of what two kinds are they?
8. Is an evil suggestion a sin, and how does it become a secret fault?
9. What is a ‘presumptuous sin,’ and when does a secret fault become a presumptuous sin?
10. What is the ‘great transgression’ to which these sins lead?
11. How may we purify and keep our hearts pure from these sins?
12. How is the Lord judging us?
13. Why should we render to God a daily account of any ‘idle’ (pernicious) words?
14. How are words the index of our hearts?
15. What does purity of heart signify?
16. What is the importance of a pure heart?
17. How may purity of heart be attained?
18. How do we know our motive is pure, since ‘the heart is deceitful above all things’?
19. What is the relation between our conscience and purity of heart?
20. Might telling the truth be evil speaking?
21. Is it always necessary to tell all we know about every affair?
22. Is an uncomplimentary remark evil speaking?
23. Would it be evil speaking to criticize doctrines publicly uttered?
24. What is a slanderer?
25. What is ‘false witness,’ and is it possible to bear false witness without uttering a word?
26. How should we deal with a brother or sister who begins to relate an evil report?
27. How should we deal with persons of the world who do evil speaking?
Ephesians 5:11-12 - And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (12) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
R2444 col. 1 ¶2, 3 - Another excuse for gossip about other men's matters is offered by others, who say: I can talk about religious matters to those who are religiously inclined, but when I am with worldly people, or with professors of religion who take no interest in religious themes, I must be agreeable and accommodating, and must at least hear their gossip and news; and if I do not share in such conversation I would be considered very peculiar, and my company would not be desired. Yes, we answer; but this is to be one of the peculiarities of the "saints:" they are not only to be different from the world, but different also from the nominal professors of religion. Their religion is not merely to be on the surface, and on one day of the week, and under a certain suit of clothes; but is to be of the heart, related to all the affairs of life, for every day and every moment. To follow strictly the divine injunction will indeed separate you from some who are now your friends and who love such evil things,--forbidden us who have become sons of God and who have received of his spirit of sonship, the spirit of Love.
And that the Lord understood and meant this is evident from the fact that he foretold to us that the way of discipleship would be a "narrow way." If, therefore, your failure to be an entertaining visitor, neighbor, friend, is because of your fidelity as a "new creature" to the law of Christ, Love--which "worketh no ill to his neighbor," either in word or deed,--then indeed you have cause for rejoicing, because you are suffering a little, experiencing a loss, for Christ's sake, for righteousness' sake. The loss may at first seem heavy, but if you endure it for Christ's sake, in obedience to his righteous law of Love, you will soon be able to say with the Apostle that such losses are "light afflictions," not worthy to be compared with the offsetting blessings.--`Phil. 3:7,8`; `2 Cor. 4:17`.
Your cause for rejoicing is that you have the Lord's promise that such suffering shall work out for your good. Companionship with those who are not seeking to walk according to the mind of the spirit, but according to the common "course of this world," is injurious to the saints, to those who are seeking to walk in harmony with the new mind. They are far better off without such worldly companions and friends, and in proportion as they are separated from these will they find closer fellowship with the Lord himself and with his Word, and with all who are true members of his Body, and under the direction of his spirit. It is in harmony with this that the Scriptures declare, in so many words, that the friendship of this world signifies enmity against God. (`Jas. 4:4`.) God has purposely placed the matter in such a position that his people must take their choice, and lose either the divine friendship and fellowship, or the worldly friendship and fellowship; because those things which the Lord loves are distasteful to the worldly, and those things which the worldly love, evil deeds and evil thoughts, evil-speaking, are an abomination in the sight of the Lord, and those who love and practice such things lose his fellowship--they are not of his spirit. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."--`Rom. 8:9`.
R2967 col. 1 ¶3 - We are to arise from all such low conditions of thought, word, and deed as we find prevalent about us; because as children of God, begotten by his spirit, we can have no fellowship with these things. We must regard them as the Apostle suggests, as "unfruitful works of darkness." The Apostle by this word, unfruitful, no doubt intended to give us the thought that sin is destructive instead of productive--that its tendency is toward death. On the contrary, the tendency of the new mind of Christ is toward fruit-bearing, development, blessing, uplifting, refreshment. Not only is this true in the individual Christian, but as our Lord's words suggest, the individual Christian exercises a preservative influence on others; wherever he may live he is a shining light dispelling the darkness of sin; he is the salt of the earth, preserving the mass from corruption. The moral standing of the civilized world today, is unquestionably largely due to the indirect influence of the holy spirit in God's people;--which as the Apostle declares, reproves the world. Our reproof of sin may always be through the living epistles of our daily lives which, as bright and shining lights, should ever reprove by manner, look, act, and tone, everything tending toward darkness and sin,--"Let your light so shine before men that they seeing your good works may glorify your Father in Heaven." Occasionally it may be proper, and still more occasionally it may be duty, for us to speak or to act in opposition to darkness; but the light of a godly life, testifying for the truth and exhibiting the holy spirit, is certainly one of the most forceful reproofs of sin that can be administered.
R2406 col. 2 ¶5 - Those who fear the Lord, who reverence his name, who think upon his Word, who are seeking to copy his disposition, and to be fashioned under the hand of divine providence, should see to it that the class we have described, of whom the Apostle declares that their envy, malice, hatred, strifes, etc., are works of the devil, do not get opportunities to work their evil works. They should do this, first, by showing their disapproval of all evil-speaking and evil works: and those who cannot show their disapproval by words of kindly admonition, pointing out that such things are not from God, but from the Adversary, should at least manifest their disapproval in their withholding any look of sympathy with such a course, and by breaking off the conversation, and very generally avoiding the company of such; and by the more strict attention to their own words and conduct, that therein they may "show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light."
28. Is evil speaking against a brother in Christ more culpable than against one of the world?
29. In order to avoid gossip, slander and evil speaking, what is the only proper and Scriptural way of redress for grievanc...
30. How should we deal in a matter of evil speaking against an Elder?
31. Why is ‘a bridled tongue’ a chief essential in an Elder?
James 3:2 - For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
R2447 col. 2 ¶2 - The public servants of the Church are to some extent specially its "tongues," and what an influence they wield for good or for evil, in the blessing and upbuilding of the Lord's people, or for their injury--cursing! How necessary that all the tongue-servants of the Lord's Body be such, and such only, as are of his spirit! Their influence not only extends to those who are in the Church, but in considerable measure they are mouthpieces heard outside. And the same principle applies to every individual member of the Church, in his use of his member, his tongue. He may use it wisely or unwisely, with heavenly wisdom or with earthly wisdom. He may use it for strife, and tearing down the faith and character of the brethren, in overthrowing love and confidence, or he may use it in building up these graces of the spirit. How many have proved the truth of the Apostle's words, that the tongue has great possibilities, either for defiling the whole body, the Church, and setting on fire the course of nature, by stirring up the evil poisons and propensities of the fallen nature! How few amongst the Lord's people have conquered the tongue to the extent of bringing it into subjection to the will of God, that they may minister good, and only good, to all with whom they come in contact! Let us, dearly beloved, be fully resolved that by divine grace (promised to assist us) the present year shall witness great progress in our control of this most important member of our bodies, bringing the same into full subjection and obedience and service to the King of kings and Lord of lords--to him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
R2157 col. 1 ¶1 - In the choice of leaders for meetings the "tongue" qualification, as here laid down should not be overlooked. The fiery tongued should not be chosen, but the meeker, the moderate, who "bridle" their tongues and endeavor carefully to "speak as the oracles of God" only. Such tongues constrain, while others more frequently wound and repel. The Word of the Lord is quick and powerful and sharp and cuts "to the heart" without bitter and acrimonious and uncharitable human expletives to enforce it. Hence the divine instruction that we "speak the truth in love."
F249 ¶2 - They should be generous men, men of pure lives, having no more than one wife; and if they have children it should be noticed to what extent the parent has exercised a wholesome influence in his own family--for it should reasonably be judged that if he has been derelict in his duty toward his children, he probably would be unwise or derelict in his counsels and his general ministries amongst the Lord's children in the Ecclesia, the Church. He is not to be double-tongued or deceptive, not to be a brawler or a contentious person. He should be one of good reputation amongst those outside the Church: not that the world will ever love or rightly appreciate the saints, but that the world should, at least, be unable to point to anything derogatory to their character as respects honesty, uprightness, morality, truthfulness. There is no limitation made respecting the number of elders in a Church or Ecclesia.
32. How may we ask advice and not do evil speaking?
33. What is the relation between ‘busy- bodying’ and evil speaking?
34. How should the Golden Rule help us to overcome evil speaking and evil surmising?
35. What is the sole exception to this rule, ‘Speak evil of no man’?
36. What inspiration should we receive from Jesus’ example?
37. How can we overcome evil surmisings and evil speaking?
38. What additional thoughts are found in index of Heavenly Manna under ‘Evil’?
39. What special experiences and practices have helped you to overcome evil surmisings to some extent?
40. As we realize how insidious this foe of the ‘new creature,’ what should be our daily prayer?
Psalms 19:12-14 - Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.