How are you? Hope you had or are having a good day today?
I watched the late Neville Johnson’s teaching “Leprosy in the Church” in The Academy of Light website. I also bought his teaching material, “The Five Offerings: a key to personal revival” and he taught about Laws of Purity – Leprosy. He shared the Lord’s saying to him, “I won’t tolerate leprosy in church anymore.” And he explained what it is. Leprosy is backbiting or slandering or gossiping about others. It is as contagious and harmful as leprosy. Now, I think we can resonate with this symbolic message more than ever before, due to the pandemic.
Neville’s warning especially toward believers’ gossip in church spoke to me much and it reminded me of my experience in Singapore. One day back in Singapore, I had a chat with my Christian colleague over coffee in the canteen of the office. As she and I shared a lot in faith and I felt she and I are likeminded, I talked about an incident in my church. I was very upset with one of the ministers in church at that time, but of course, I didn’t share it with anyone in my church. Yet I shared the incident and my feeling with my Christian colleague, as we were close, and she didn’t go to my church. She heard me and understood how upset I was.
After our chat, we came back to work. In our department at that time, we had two employees who were famous for their poor work ethics and poor performances. During the working hour, they used to go out to have breakfast for 1 hour, lunch for 2 hours, later at least 30 mins for afternoon tea and so on. It was very well known from the top management down to assistants in the organization. As our department head was not working in Singapore office, but abroad, nor was she firm at all, they simply got away with murder for many years. At that time, my Christian colleague and I used to exchange chats in our laptops, and we used capital letters for their initials, like B for Betty and E for Ellen (pseudonyms), when we grumbled about them. So, we chatted about them like “B and E have not come back from lunch yet”, “B dumped her shits on C. Thick face! Poor C” and so on. Then, after chatting about the minister to my colleague in the pantry and came back to my desk, I pinged her, to talk about Betty. Precisely speaking, I thought I pinged my Christian friend. I kept typing about Betty cynically, using the initial, B, until Betty wrote back to me, “Who is B?” Now I can laugh, but at that moment, both my brain and my fingers got frozen. I got to realize I had clicked Betty’s name in the chat window by mistake, as the family names of both my Christian colleague and Betty start with “L.” At least it was good that we were sitting far away from one another, so that Betty couldn’t see my face at that moment. Not knowing what to say to her, I opened another chat window for my Christian colleague and told her what was happening. She said, “Yunee, don’t worry. I will pray Betty forgets about it. Her mind is already on her vacation. (She was planning to take vacation from the next day)” I was a little bit comforted by her words. Then, I didn’t reply to Betty, but closed the chat window and she really seemed to forget about it. Yet at the moment when I got to know I made that horrible mistake, I immediately thought it was the chastisement of the Lord, as I backbit the Lord’s anointed. I repented. Though the minister’s attitude was not thoughtful at all, I felt Him want me not to backbite His servant. Looking back at the incident now, I think the Lord didn’t also want me to backbite the colleague, even though she was absolutely wrong in her work ethics.
Since then, I was very careful about talking about ministers. Even when I decided to leave a certain minister’s online ministry, I walked away, not telling the person what made me take that decision. I smelled something wrong in the ministry, but also felt it was not His will to share what I thought was wrong in the ministry. And the Lord also gave me the Scriptures from Proverbs 6:16~19 about what He hates:
These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
So, I chose not to share the reason I’m leaving the ministry with my close friend in Singapore who was still in the ministry, not to potentially sow discord.
In all honesty, I was not perfect in keeping my mouth shut at all times, though, whether it was on ministers or brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ or anyone I met for business. Yet I’m so grateful for the Lord’s teaching me in my journey to ascend Mount Zion how important it is not to judge others in my heart and not to backbite others. One night, I said to the Lord, “Father, I want my lips to be purified. Please purify them.” I felt my lips and tongue a bit numb, as if one of the seraphim touched my mouth with a live charcoal as it did to Isaiah.
We all have those who often push our buttons, around us. When we are angry about them, I think we can always go to our Father. He would not say to us, “Shut up!” when we talked about them. He would understand our anger, our wounds or sorrows. We always go to His arms where there is no leprosy, but healing. Are you longing for dwelling in the presence of the Lord all the time? I pray that the Lord may purify our hearts and mouths and we are gracious and merciful toward others as He is to us, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
He who loves purity of heart