As many of my readers know, I have several close friends who live in the Redding California area. I travelled there several times over the past six years. If you been watching the news at all, you know that region has been hard hit by a horrific forest fire. 95% of my friends had to evacuate, some left voluntarily as they have small children. Many of my friends are not yet able to go home, and a few of my friends still have no idea if they have a home return to.
Most of my friends attend a church that has been falsely accused of not caring for its city because it did not open its doors as an evacuee centre. The fact that City officials refused the church’s request to be an evacuee centre due to its proximity to the fires and a narrow entry in and out of the church property has been ignored by the social media heresy hunters and armchair moral police squads. At the same time, the church applied to be an evacuee centre, it reached out to the Red Cross and Salvation Army and offered its services. These agencies asked the church to wait until the winds changed and the church property was well out of the danger zone.
As soon as the danger was over, the agencies gave the church the green light to be a distribution centre for evacuees, and in less than 24 hours after the go-ahead was given, the church was opening its doors. In the meantime, worldwide social media armchair judges and juries slammed the church for not meeting its city’s needs.
The church’s trained crisis team made up of doctors, nurses, mental health workers, and trained volunteers have been working at various evacuee centres since day one of the fire. They are now heading to neighbourhoods that have been cleared for people to return home.
The non-stop onslaught of misinformation and malicious slandering will not only hurt that church, it could also harm hundreds of displaced people that need the items that the Red Cross and Salvation Army have asked this church to distribute on their behalf.
This scenario is nothing new. Case in point, a megachurch in Lakewood went through the same slander and name smearing during the 2016 floods. The church was turned down by its city’s Emergency Response Officials due to its location near the flood zone and for troubling flooding in the basement of the church. Moral Police squads actually went as far as to photoshop fake time stamps on old photos of the church’s basement to prove their so-called point the church was uncaring. Not to moral if you ask me.
So, what is my point? In the same way that wildfires destroyed over 100,000 acres of land and have destroyed over 700 homes in only a few days, the social media rumour mill is doing its best to ruin the reputation of a church that merely loves its city and respects its government official’s decisions.
This is only one example of the damage done to reputations, ministries, and individuals on a daily basis across the Internet. I felt the Lord remind me of this Bible passage as I poured out my grieving heart to Him today. In today’s modern world, substitute the word ‘tongue’ with the words ‘keyboard’ or ‘video editor’ or ‘photoshop’.
James 3:3-12 – “If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also, the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”
Take serious note of the above passage. Are you writing with a poison pen during the week only to attend church on Sunday, lifting your blood-stained hands before the Lord, hands stained with the blood from the wounds your words inflicted on brothers and sisters in Christ? I have written on gossip too many times in the past to do so again here, but you can search this website to find those articles.
Too many organizations and individuals who feel it is their so-called God-given duty to sniff out ‘strange fire’ are doing nothing more than setting wildfires of slander with their pens.
I leave you with this quote, written by Billy Graham. It just happened to be in the queue for today from the Daily Christian Quote website. For it to appear today is no coincidence.
“The world, in the last few years, has reverted to a sort of barbarism. As practical Christianity has declined, rudeness and violence have increased. Neighbours quarrel with neighbours. Fighting is a major problem in our schools, and the “gang wars” of the teenagers have come to present a serious menace in our cities. Fathers and mothers wrangle and bicker. Homes are disintegrating. High government officials in Washington engage in name-calling and in heated disputes not at all in keeping with the dignity of their office. Why and how has all this savagery crept into our social life? It is because we have forgotten Jesus’ words, “Happy are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” I have seen tough, rough, hardened men open their hearts by faith, receive Christ as Savior, and become gentle, patient, merciful gentlemen.”
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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