Monday, May 15, 2017

Talking TO Someone Rather Than About Someone

"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable..."  (Luke 18:9).

In the verse above, what do you believe is the most important word? I may surprise you in that I would choose the first word as the most important word, the little preposition "to."

Jesus could have spoken "about" some who were confident of their own righteousness, but He doesn't do that. He speaks "to" those who were confident of their own righteousness. Jesus always spoke to people, not about people.

And so should we.

Mary Anne Evans once wrote,
"Gossip is a sort of smoke that comes from the dirty tobacco-pipes of those who diffuse it: it proves nothing but the bad taste of the smoker."
Christians are to be people with impeccable tastes. We are never to gossip about others, but we are called to speak to others - just like Jesus did. I've had a rule in my ministry for years called the Principle of Loyalty that goes something like this:
"I will neither give nor receive a negative word about you unless you yourself have been spoken to first."
I never ceased to be amazed at the number of people who wish to talk to me about someone else without ever going to that someone.  I will not listen. In fact, applying the Principle of Loyalty I will ask the person wishing to share with me the latest gossip, "Have you gone and spoken personally to the person you wish to discuss with me?" If the answer is no, I tell them I will not even communicate with them until they do.

I learned from Spurgeon that a pastor who listens to gossip is as guilty as the creator of outright lies. Spurgeon said to pastors he mentored:
"Don't allow certain busybodies to bring you all the gossip of the place. Drive the creatures away. Abhor those mischief-making, tattling handmaidens to strife. Those who will fetch will carry, and no doubt the gossips go from your house and report every observation which falls from your lips, with plenty of garnishing of their own. Remember that, as the receiver is as bad as the thief, so the hearer of scandal is a sharer in the guilt of it. If there were no listening ears there would be no talebearing tongues. While you are a buyer of ill wares the demand will create the supply, and the factories of falsehoood will be working full time. No one wishes to become a creator of lies, and yet he who hears slanders with pleasure and believes them with readiness will hatch many a brood into active life” (Lectures to My Students, p. 328).
As a Christian, if you are offended with someone and talk about that person to other people and not to that person himself, then you are doing opposite of what Jesus did.

Jesus said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matthew 7:1).  The Greek word translated "judge" in this verse is krino. This Greek word can mean condemn or "to call in question, conclude, decree, determine, esteem, ordain, think, or my sentence is". Out of 107 times where krino is used in the Bible, only six render it as "condemn" or "damn".

When we look closely at Matthew 7:1-5 the context clearly indicates that it does not only mean "condemn". In verse 2 He says "with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again". So clearly  krinos here not only means condemning people, but it also means "concluding, calling into question, decreeing, determining, esteeming, ordaining, thinking, or sentencing." 

Principle: The way we deal with other people is the way we will be dealt with by God. 

"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Matthew 7:2).

I want God talking to me, not about me. 


Rex Ray said...


Your post reminds me of three friends who decided to tell each other their secret sin.
One said, “I like to gamble a little.”
The second said, “I like to look at low-cut dresses.”
The third said, “I’m a gossip and I’m dying to get out of here.”

On the serious side, you mentioned Matthew 7:1-5 where Jesus tells us not to judge. But in verse six, He said, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who or unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!”

How do we know which people are unholy or who are “pigs” if we don’t judge?

Jesus talked ABOUT Pharisees when he said: “Everything they do is for show.” (Matthew 23:5)

Wade Burleson said...


You ask a good question:

"Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. How do we know which people are unholy or who are "pigs" if we don't judge?"

Answer: Pigs reject the pearls.

It seems to me that when you are rejected, you are not to "waste your time" getting those who reject you to accept you - but it doesn't mean you go around hollering at the pigs. :)

Christiane said...

"we are called to speak to others - just like Jesus did"
Wade, your words remind me so much of this:

"“Our preacher Veronica said recently that this is life's nature: that lives and hearts get broken -- those of people we love, those of people we'll never meet. She said that the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.”
(Anne Lamott)

We need to learn to listen to the pain behind the words of others, because people who have no words to tell of it still need to be heard. This is something I think you know about from the caring work you do with people who have problems. God Bless.

Wade Burleson said...

Well stated Christiane

Rex Ray said...


I should know by now that you can be a master of answering ‘around’ a question. Also I should never ask more than one question because the harder question usually gets neglected: Was Jesus talking TO Pharisees or ABOUT Pharisees when he said, “Everything they do is for show.” (Matthew 23:5) ?

There! IMHO I’ve “judged” you. :)

I believe “not to judge” means we are not to judge without knowing all the facts.

Example: If I see someone’s yard with trash, do I assume they put it there when maybe someone else did?

Gordon said...

Will Rogers said: "Never met a person I didn't like".

We would do well only to think and say good things about others. When you give a person a good reputation they will respond by living up to it.

Rex Ray said...

Off topic
You may remember this unsolved murder 15 years ago near Bonham, Texas. I wrote this to the Sherman newspaper.

Herald Democrat Reporter,
Thank you for a job well done on the Jennifer Harris case. I think you’re a light at the end of the tunnel. Without pointing a finger, the facts you’ve shown bring some strong suspicions that are worth looking into. She told her friends she had a date at the Bonham Lake. Six days later she was found in Red River. Mike McClellan was a Bonham police investigator. You wrote his name or a reference to him 27 times.
I believe he covered up for a friend or did it for money. Otherwise why would her father, Jerry Harris, say McClellan was more interested in what he could get out of the case than solving the case? Jerry heard McClellan tell the FBI their help was not needed. He told Oklahoma police the same thing.
McClellan became a ‘smoking gun’ when he asked to buy the laptop that belonged to Jennifer. Anyone would know the laptop might contain evidence that would reveal her killer.
The ‘evidence room’ should have had a camera to see who took her laptop. It was never found. The thief would have to be someone that had access such as McClellan. Also her clothes found at Red River disappeared from the evidence room. ‘They’ reappeared but were not her clothes. There was someone rotten in the Bonham police department.
You reported the case of Whitewright Police Cpl. Jim Lamance being killed in December 2000 and Richard Hicks being charged with his murder in 2002. A more detail of that trial is:
It tells why Hicks was found innocent at his first trial and guilty at the second trial even though the trials were about the same gun battle.

Rex Ray said...

The most damaging evidence was provided by Mike McClellan. He found two rifle shells that came from Hicks’ gun. The shells were wiped clean of fingerprints. The shooter left in a hail of gunfire. That’s why I believe the shells were ‘planted’ because it’s crazy to believe the shooter removed fingerprints and left the shells. There are ways to obtain someone’s gun shells. McClellan moved to Oregon with Lamance’s widow and died in 2010.
These are the reasons the link gave why Hicks was found innocent at his first trial:
1. Hicks’ truck tires did not match tire tracks in the field.
2. Soil samples in the field did not match Hick’s impounded truck.
3, Boot tracks in the field did not match Hicks’ boots.
4. The field was muddy but there was no mud on Hicks’ truck.
5. The truck scraped over large logs, but no log residue was found on Hick’s truck.
6. A gunshot residue test on Hicks was negative.
7. Kevin Lamance said they never saw the truck driver, but guessed it was Hicks.
8. Kevin changed the time they first saw a white truck: 5:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
9. Dr, Linda Norton, a forensic pathologist, testified due to the gunpowder on Jim Lamance’s face, he was shot by Kevin’s 9-millimeter handgun. Each got out on their side of the car with Jim between the fleeing truck and Kevin. Kevin started shooting so wildly he shot the hood of their car. Jim turned to look at his brother and was shot in the eye.
In the second trial, Hicks’ father testified Texas Ranger Lee Young came to his home twice and asked if his son owned a 9-millimeter handgun. Young testified he didn’t. Hicks was sentenced to 15 years in prison not for murder but for violation of a protective order by his ex-wife even though the order time had passed. The maximum penalty for that order was one year in jail, but the judge believed he killed Lamance.

Christiane said...

Sounds like you have a real interest in investigation. Your description of 'Texas justice' is fascinating. :)

Rex Ray said...


Things got so bad a joke went around “If you want to get away with murder, do it in Bonham, Texas.”

On the other hand, it can go the other way. If I was running from the law I sure wouldn’t go home and go to sleep. The link that was written June 5, 2003 tells how the law made sure Richard Hicks did not escape from his home:

“In the pre-dawn hours, with Department of Public Safety helicopters flying overhead and officers from two sheriff's departments and several neighboring police departments surrounding Hicks' rural home, he was arrested. After firing tear gas and concussion grenades into the house, members of the Grayson County Sheriff's Department Special Response Team entered and found Hicks in his bedroom, clothed only in his underwear, putting out a small fire on the carpet caused by one of the incendiary grenades.”

Rex Ray said...


Here is some more Bonham ‘Justus’.

At 3 in the morning, a policeman knocked on my door and said, “We have arrested a man in your yard and we are looking for another man.”

(A car had tried to outrun the police at 120 mph. They turned off the highway on a dirt road that had been abandoned because a creek had washed a bridge out.
At the bridge the two men split up and started running through the trees. The driver had hurt his leg when he jumped into the dry creek.)

I walked with the policeman around the house to the back yard. They had the passenger in one of their cars. The policeman asked if I had my garage door down. I said I had left it up.

“You don’t understand. We want to stick this guy with all we can. If your door was down, we could charge him with ‘entering’. So was the door down?”

I said it was up.

We could hear police dogs barking that were on the trail of the driver. The trail stopped about a mile away where someone had given the guy a ride and took him to a hospital. Later the hospital reported to the police and he was arrested.

The next day they told the 18 year old passenger he should not have run and released him. He came back and found his glasses. He said he had been down my 40 foot high slide. I don’t charge anything and 645 have been down with total trips of 1,518.

Rex Ray said...


How would you like to appear before this Bonham, Texas judge?

A 50 year old woman was a member of our church and a dear friend. She liked to ride a motor scooter. Police and an ambulance arrived at the scene where she lay unconscious on a farm to market road. Her helmet was still on, but she was lying in a pool of blood from her nose and mouth and had a broken neck and back.

A lot of months went by before she received papers to appear in court. She had no memory of what happened. The judge fined her $80 for not having a license to ride a scooter. The District Attorney told the judge there was not a law requiring a license for a motor scooter.

The judge said, “We have to charge her with something!”

One half mile from our house an intersection was known as “crash intersection”. There were more wrecks there than all the other intersections combine. The community had meetings with the State desiring to have an overpass. I took a picture with my cell phone of a wreck with a truck near the stop sign. I wanted it in case we had another meeting. A policeman saw me and made sure I deleted it. The good news is; five years later an overpass is being built.

Christiane said...

Wow. Is this a TRUE story??? Yikes!
Poor lady.

When we were stationed in Norfolk VA, there was a road that led to the main base that was, at that time, a three-lane highway. The center lane was for passing. More sailors were killed on that road than any other road in the United States. They were trying to make it back to their ships on time and died while 'passing' in the center lane from head-on collisions.

FINALLY, finally, someone had the sense (or the shame) to suggest a proper highway and it was constructed. The death toll plunged. Sometimes, in trying to 'save money' for the tax payers, we sacrifice the wrong people...... our young sailors, that good woman in Bonham Texas, the developmentally disabled, the elderly who need 'meals on wheels', the rural hospitals that depend on Medicaid funds...... and the people whose jobs are in those hospitals that will no doubt soon close their doors .....

there are ways to save money, we all know this, but there are some expenses that should not be reckoned

Rex Ray said...


First of all, I want to thank you for replying. It’s a shame about the deaths on the three lane road. The road from Bonham to Sherman is a divided four lane highway with speed signs of 75 mph. But many years ago the road was two lane and you could pass if no one was coming.

One of my uncles was a slowpoke driver. His top speed was 35 in a 60 mph. I believe slow drivers cause many wrecks. On his way to Sherman, he had a long line behind him. When finally a bus passed a sailor’s body was half out a window and yelled, “If you’re going to park, get off the road!”

I’ll tell another true story about the need for citizens to be protected from police in Bonham.

A relative of ours is a good safe driver who does not break the law about “Stop Signs”. He had almost stopped at a Stop Sign when he looked in his mirror and saw a car behind him coming so fast he thought he would be ‘rear-ended’. He stepped on the gas to get out of his way. It was a policeman who gave him a $150 ticket.

Aussie John said...


Your words remind me of my first year in pastoral ministry almost forty years ago. It was a small country church. During the first two weeks almost every member came to me with an unpleasant story or complaint about others.

I started a habit which I continued until retirement: When a complaint began I told the complainant to immediately come with me and tell the story in front of the one complained about.

No one ever took up my offer and the complaints stopped.

Unknown said...

Thank you for a job well done on the Jennifer Harris case. I think you’re a light at the end of the tunnel. Without pointing a finger, the facts you’ve shown bring some strong suspicions that are worth looking into. She told her friends she had a date at the Bonham Lake.