So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. ~ Romans 14:13 (NLT)
Trash talking has become an art form in modern sports. For those unfamiliar with the term, you’re basically putting your opponent down during the game. I was the receiver of a lot of trash talk when I was a varsity athlete in high school, especially on the football field. I was tall and very skinny. I didn’t look like I had a ton of muscle mass, so defenders would often look at this wide receiver and assume that I had no skill. They would make fun of my skinniness, my skin color (yup, it came up that I was white), and general lack of looking like an athlete.
My coach, however, was very good at helping us to understand that we were not to trash talk. Instead, we were to do our talking with our performance – focus on our assignments within the game, play as a team, etc. So, I never really took part in the trash talking, just the receiving. I let my game do the talking. And, as it turns out, I was pretty good at it.
Unfortunately, trash talking has made its way into our churches. No, not just for recreational sports, but every facet of our church experience. People trash talk the worship leaders, the potluck supervisors, the deacons, the Sabbath School teachers, the elders, the youth, and, of course, the pastor. They are quick to point out their supposed failures and that they are not qualified to do the jobs that God has called them to do.
For those who are in a position of leadership, such as I’ve described, let your ministry do the talking. You don’t need to respond to haters. In fact, you don’t even have to listen to them. Walk away, shred the anonymous letter, hang up. Rest secure in what God is calling you to do. Focus on your part of the church’s ministry, do your best for the glory of God.
For those who feel like it is their duty to point things out in the churches (They often times call themselves “watchmen”), you are sinning. Nowhere in the Scriptures does Jesus ever say that members of the Body of Christ get to trash talk. Instead, we are called to love. You are the greatest reason people are repelled by the thought of Jesus. As Paul put it, “Let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” Repent, and focus on the ministry God has called you to.