Today in church, the message was powerful. Well it always is with Rev James Arheghan of Tetraedge international. We started a series on Joseph, it is a series he titled ‘JOE’ and the focus today was on Bad Reports.
Many times when we talk about the story of Joseph, we always make him into a victim but the truth of the matter is there are other scenarios and this is where I will centre my topic just like Rev James did.
First of all I would like you to know that most people who carry bad reports think they are doing it with good intentions. “oh I want him to repent, to know he is wrong” and so you carry a story about Ebeneezer to Grace and then to Mercy and then to Jackson and before you know it you have spread the story far and wide. That is not helpful at all, what you will end up achieving is causing strife. Those people you have told the story would start seeing Ebeneezer in a bad light without even being sure if you are right or not. For whatever reason you should never take bad reports of someone to another person. That is a reflection of the evil in your heart because you may convince yourself that it is with good intentions but it really isn’t. The road to hell as they say, is paved with good intentions. What you want is for that person to be castigated or punished. This was the case with Joseph.
Joseph knew that his brothers did not like him because of the sort of love Jacob had for him. He also knew because of the love his father had for him, his father would always side with him. As a result he would take bad reports to his father about his brothers (Genesis 37:1-2). Now the way his brothers reacted is not entirely based on anything Joseph did. This is because it takes a really evil heart to want to kill. However it is clear that Joseph instigated this by his habit of taking bad reports about his brothers to his father. Now is this to say that you condone evil? Absolutely not. However you ought to cover a transgression rather than spread it about. You would hear most people say you should never cover up evil, you must speak the truth and the truth shall set you free. This is not the interpretation of those sayings. It is not for you to take bad reports about someone to different people. In (Proverbs 17:9) the bible says he who covers a transgression seeks love and he who repeats a matter separates friends.
There you have it, from the word of God itself. You go about saying “hey Titi did this, she did that” and meanwhile you haven’t spoken to Titi about it. You end up turning people against her and making public what should have been private. What you end up achieving is that people’s faith in her is damaged. They begin to see her in light of how you have painted her irrespective of whether you are right or wrong. If Titi had been a reason for their salvation or faith in God you have damaged that as well because you could cause them to sin.
You often hear people saying “am not going to church anymore, the pastor did this, he did that” and if you check it is as a result of bad reports they have heard. In this way you are an Anti-Christ. Most times we just relegate the word ‘Anti-Christ’ to mean a devil with horns who appears after the rapture. That is true but the Anti-Christ is also anyone who seeks to damage the kingdom that God is building and by turning other people’s faith against God you have done just that and you are an Anti-Christ.
“When you take the slander out of the Mix, the fire goes out”. We should always be seeking to take out the fire not ignite and fan its flames. Even in families we see this happening often. You see relatives that are not talking to each other and if you check the root cause it is due to slander. One member of the family has carried bad reports about a member to other members and it has caused strife among the family members.
There are things that a sibling would tell me in confidence that I have never told any other family member but when you find it necessary to always involve everyone in a matter that should be between two people then you are fanning the flames of strife.
Now you may wonder “huh, so what do I then do if someone offends me? Well thank God for the bible which is our every day guide. (Matthew 18:15-17) tells us how to go about it. If someone offends you, you ought to go to the person one on one and talk it out. If you try and it doesn’t go well, maybe the person doesn’t want to listen to you then you go back and bring two others whom the person may listen to. Ensure you tell the person you would be bringing two more people whom the person may listen to. If you bring these two and the person still doesn’t listen then you go and tell the church. If the person still wouldn’t listen to the church then you can treat the person as you would a pagan. This means that you treat the person as an unbeliever whom you then minister to “my brother, my sister Jesus loves you, give your life to Christ, because it seems you are not yet saved”.
This is the process you take rather than taking bad report about the person to Mr A and Mr B and the whole community. There would be consequences for every action, forget grace. Must people think grace is an excuse to be stupid. According to Pastor James “Grace does not cover stupidity”. So you can’t defame the character of someone and think grace would cover you. Did grace cover Joseph in Potiphar’s house? Not quite, as much as he was favored by God, he met his own bad report in Egypt after he was sold into slavery. Potiphar’s wife also did the same thing to him and I am sure at that point he knew how it must have felt when he was giving bad reports about his brethren, even if he was innocent and his brothers might not have been. It was even worse on him as he was innocent but we all know what happened. He ended in prison before God delivered him. There is always something bad awaiting anyone ready to take bad reports about people.
Now some may say, as they commonly say, that God planned it as it happened. That he went through all he did to attain the position he attained in Egypt. Yes that was his divine destiny no one is disputing that. However, he would have attained that destiny regardless of what happened along the way. He could have still attained it without having to be thrown into the well or sold into slavery or imprisoned. God could have made his crooked paths straight had he not carried bad reports. Now, before it seems as though I am carrying bad reports about Joseph, I just really was blessed by this and have made my own resolutions to never carry a bad report to a third party without trying to sort it out with the party involved.
If you have bad thoughts about someone and conceive to spread bad reports it is simply a reflection of your evil heart. The heart of man is desperately wicked as the bible says. So whenever the need to spread bad reports arises, kill it instantly and chose rather to spread love. In (Ephesians 4:29) the bible says and I quote “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying. That it may minister grace unto the hearers”.
With this I rest my topic. I would be talking more on the issue of Grace when next I publish a post. I hope you have learned as much as I have on this topic. Please I look forward to your questions and comments. Happy Sunday, Bless.