Have you ever heard a preacher teach on a certain passage of Scripture you've read 100 times, and yet when they explain it, you see it in a fresh way that changes your perspective? Ken Fish did that on my podcast not too long ago when he explained the hidden spiritual-warfare insights in Psalm 91 and how they pertain to the current COVID-19 crisis. He did it again more recently when he shared oft-overlooked insights into Psalm 15.
This particular psalm, he says, offers 11 criteria for a righteous man or woman who can dwell in God's presence. In my podcast, Ken goes through all 11, but the first one he shares actually exposes a sin that is all too common in the United States—slander.
Verses 2-3 point out that it's the person "who speaks the truth in his heart; he who does not slander with the tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor bears a reproach against his friend."
Sadly, Ken says, too many people don't fit this description.
"If we are the kind of people who are taking up reproach against our friends and we throw them under the bus or we appear to be smiling on the one side, but on the other hand we have the long knives out—this is a problem," Ken says. "This is a severe problem. And I would even go so far as to say this: I have traveled widely doing ministry over the years, and there are certain parts of the United States where I would say this kind of behavior is much more prevalent than in other parts of the United States."
When I asked Ken why he thought it was more common in some parts of the U.S., he said it's because no one calls it out as wrong. In a way, it's embedded in our culture.
I can't disagree with his assessment. Just look at how political candidates campaign for each other. It's often steeped in slandering the other side and digging up past dirt on them. (Just think of how the left has treated Trump since he first ran for office!)
And unfortunately, this isn't just an issue in secular culture. Ken says that in many ways, gossip and slander are even worse in the church in some cases. So why aren't pastors and leaders calling believers out on this? Perhaps it's simply become so common that Christians tend to overlook it as a "normal sin," so to speak.
But this isn't "normal" to God, Ken says:
"This business of reproaching your friend is a big deal in the mind of God."
Psalm 15 dives into 10 other important conditions that Christians are called to follow if we want to continually walk in the light of God's presence. When we don't, we allow chinks in our armor, giving the enemy more room to attack and distract us from God.
I encourage you to listen to my full podcast with Ken to hear the other 10 conditions. As you listen, be sure to ask God to show you any areas in your life where you have allowed cracks in your armor.
In case you haven't heard yet, I've released a brand-new book called God, Trump and COVID-19. In many ways, it's a follow up to God, Trump and the 2020 Election. With the coronavirus pandemic changing so much around the world, I felt it necessary to provide fresh insights into how the virus is affecting the upcoming election and the church in America. Make sure you check it out and buy your own copy at SteveStrangBooks.com!
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