B. EXPOSURE - “A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on and are punished.” Proverbs 27:12 Exposure is entering into conversation with a person who is a carrier of an evil report.
1. How does God want us to respond?
“Now I beseech you, brethren, MARK them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17
“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I CUT OFF…” Psalm 100:5
a. We have protective physical defenses to warn us about physical contamination that tells us to respond. We can smell it or taste it. Sometimes, however, we are unaware of contamination until it is too late. In the same way, God gives us protective spiritual defenses to warn us about spiritual contamination. We can sense the prompting of God’s Holy Spirt, follow the warnings of God’s Word and obey the wise counsel of our human authorities.
2. How to detect a carrier of an evil report:
a. A carrier will usually TEST YOUR SPIRIT before giving you the evil report. Any evidence of a compatible spirit in you will encourage him (her) to give you the report.
b. A carrier will usually CHECK YOUR ACCEPTANCE of his (her) report before giving it to you. He may do this by asking your opinion about the person or dropping a negative comment and observing your response to it.
c. A carrier will often get YOU TO ASK for the evil report by creating curiosity for it. Some starters are: “Have you heard about so and so? Well, since you ask, I’ll tell you.”
d. A carrier may communicate an evil report by ASKING FOR YOUR COUNSEL or by sharing a concern for the person involved.
e. A carrier may use an evil report to GET YOU TO ADMIRE him or her because of being on the inside and having access to privileged information.
f. A carrier is usually one who EVOKES VIVID details of evil and will search them out. God condemns such “detectives of darkness” whose tongues are like sharp swords. Ephesians 5:12
3. How to detect an evil report – Here are five questions to ask before listening to a carrier (this could save your life):
a. What is your reason for telling me? Widening the circle of gossip only compounds the problem.
b. Where did you get your information? Refusal to identify the source of information can be a signal of an evil report.
c. Have you gone to those directly involved? Spirituality is not measured by how we expose an offender, but by how effectively we restore an offender. Galatians 6:1
d. Have you personally checked out the facts? Even “facts” become distorted when not balanced with other facts or when given with negative motives. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13
e. Can I quote you if I check this out? Those who give evil reports often claim that they are “misquoted.” This is because their words and over-riding impressions are reported.
Note: In the case of hearing a report against a leader (pastor) we should simply state the following:
“I find this offensive against my spiritual leadership and expect you go to him within three days and say this to him, or I will tell him in three days or take you with me.”
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:19