Austin and I have a friend who we met in Durango and now does college ministry with his beautiful wife down in Texas. Eli and Mandy both love the Lord and want their lives to please Him in every way. God has gifted Eli with musical abilities and in teaching. Every time you get in a conversation with Eli, he wants to share with you something the Lord taught him. We invited Eli to come to Denver and put on a concert and speak to our students. The week he came, we were dealing with a gossip problem going on with some of our students. God orchestrated things so beautifully to have Eli come at that exact point. Eli is the most honoring person I know. He uses every opportunity he can get to honor people, to brag on them. He spoke to our leadership students about honor and taught them what it was and why it's such a big deal while he bragged on Austin and I while he was teaching. Then next day, I overheard some of the girls that were involved in the gossip bragging on other people!
When Eli lived in Durango, God was challenging him to be a man of honor. To not speak against his brothers and sisters in Christ especially his leaders but instead be a warrior, a defender for them (Isn’t it interesting that it is most common to talk bad about our authorities, when they are the exact ones God calls us to honor). He overheard his friend talking bad about the leader of the ministry and Eli actually went up and punched the guy. Not that I'm saying we just go around punching people but the gossip stopped and the group of guys started bragging on the leader and on others. Not long after that the ministry quadrupled in size. Honoring others has incredibly rewarding fruit, whereas gossip has incredibly destructive fruit.
Miriam is another example of dishonor and how serious God takes it. Numbers 12 tells her story. (Eye opening story, pop on over to read). It starts when "Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife." Miriam and Aaron were justified in thinking and saying he shouldn't have married the lady. But rather than talking to God and Moses, they talked to each other about it and that did not make God happy. The Lord called them together and called Moses and Aaron out on their sin in a crazy way. He brags about Moses! God, God! The One who breathed the massive stars into being and breathed life into the first man, Him! He brags about Moses.
Surely if God, the Perfect One can consider a person worth bragging about, so can we! Moses didn't deserve respect because he was so great, Moses deserved respect and honor because of what God thought about him and because of who made him.
God gives Miriam leprosy and Moses pleads for her healing. God heals her but not until after 7 days of discipline, meaning they couldn't move forward until her time of consequences was over. It just goes to show that sometimes things are delayed because of sin and the consequences of sin.
Dishonor, talking bad about your brothers and sisters in Christ and especially your leaders is a super big deal to God.
Do you take it as seriously as He does? How do you know?
When you are in a situation where everyone is talking about someone, what do you do? What's your plan to get out of it?