How do you speak? Can you, after you have conversed with
someone, lift up your eyes and say, “Father, do Thou plant what I
have said deep in his heart that it may grow and bear fruit.” Or perhaps
you must say, “Forgive, blot it out!” What manner of words do
you use? Are they life-destroying or life-giving? None of your words
is lost; they return, in one form or another, to you or to others.
Miriam spoke to Aaron about her brother Moses, and together
both spoke against him. First one speaks about his neighbor, then
against him. Miriam poisoned Aaron’s soul and caused him to sin.
Oh, this passion for gossip! It is a fire that consumes, and the disease
from which God’s people suffer most. When you speak with your
brother concerning others, do you drop a poison into his soul from
which he cannot easily escape? Are the faults of others veiled by your
silence or your speech? Do you help to the end that your brothers and
sisters can be saved, or are the sins and passions of others aroused and
nourished by your words? Do you too carry on this colportage of the
Because many cannot keep the tongue in check, and because God
chooses not to bind it, He often imposes a heavy burden. And the burden
of God weighs heavily upon the soul, as one soon realizes.
Miriam became a leper. Thus God clearly shows that He regards slander
as an abominable, stinking disease. Herein lies the secret reason
why so many of God’s children live a weak or a dead Christian life.
The poison of gossip and the practice of judging others have slain
them. Much more than we realize, we become partakers in the guilt of
others because we have not learned to deal in a holy manner with their
lack of holiness. But if we will attend the school of Him who called
Judas “friend,” and who healed Malchus’s ear, we shall learn to act