Backbiting and Payback Prov. 24:28-29 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
There are two sins that can plague Christians – backbiting and paybacks.
Backbiting is intended to destroy someone’s reputation and in the meantime make you look good – it is deceptive – the Pharisees did it to Jesus without cause out of envy – Ahab and Jezebel did it to Naboth to get the vineyard that he had – backbiting happens in corporations when men and women are trying to get ahead of their peers.
On rare occasions, there is a cause where someone needs to bear witness against a neighbor – usually for the protection of the innocent who would be hurt if they didn’t know what was going on – that’s precisely the reason that sex offenders have to register – if they don’t another innocent victim may be harmed.
For the most part, there is rarely a cause to bear witness against a neighbor – years ago we had a situation where a lady was backbiting another individual in the church – she involved 6 families – fortunately the families each had enough maturity to recognize the trouble maker and came to me about her mouth – we prayed and I told them not to be her audience and she ended up leaving the church – people figured out the trouble was with her – thus she didn’t have an audience – the potential damage from backbiting doesn’t often get cured this way – we’ve seen other instances where backbiting tore up a church.
Look at the companions of this sin – Rom 1:30 – look at the condition of a church affected by this sin – 2 Cor 12:20.
Conclusion: If you have a problem with someone take it up with them directly – if you are a coward just deal with it alone then – and if you think someone else needs to know, go talk with your pastor about it and follow his counsel – if you aren’t going to follow his counsel then keep your mouth shut!!
Paybacks are another problem – you think you’ve been wronged so you feel justified in trying to get back at the other person – this usually involves the mouth – and it is very destructive to you and to everyone else that gets caught in the middle of the mess.
First, you lose – the bitterness eats at you while you are waiting for the other guy to go down after what he did to you (or what you think he did to you) – also your attempted paybacks can back fire (like Joab killing Abner and Amasa) – you know that the retaliator is the one always penalized.
Second, the bitterness spreads to others as you are waiting for “the kill” Heb 12:15.
Third, the payback gets exaggerated (hit back with more force than you have been hit) so the war escalates (one bad deed deserves another) – you see this in failing marriages.
Fourth, after the payback you don’t get the relief you were hoping for (it doesn’t work).
Conclusion: Look, if there is a real problem “vengeance is mine saith the Lord” – otherwise learn to roll with the punches – there is no need to fight Christian brethren – you’ll be doing the devil’s work for him – learn to grow up instead!!