GOSSIP MORE

 

Do you ever wonder how people talk about you behind your back?

 

Maybe you get antsy when you see a small group of people snickering in a circle. Was it something I did? Was it something I said? The mind has its mysterious ways of wandering and wondering. Wandering and wondering. Sometimes, the anxiety of imaging yourself the victim of gossip can chew a hole through an entire day.

 

Don’t get me wrong: this is not a passionate plea for Christians to gossip less. It’s a passionate plea for Christians to gossip more.

 

Seriously, talk behind the backs of as many church members as possible. Run your mouth. Chew up the fat. Go on and on about their lives. But be darn sure that your gossip is seasoned and flavored by the gospel: “In humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

 

There is a type of gossip that counts others as more significant, not less. Just like there’s a type of gossip that counts others as more righteous, not less.

 

Take for instance the gossip of Jesus. Jesus talks behind your back.

 

To the throne of God, Satan drags with him a cosmic bag brimming full of accusations about your sins, failures, and struggles. Each sin demanding an eternity of eternities of hell, sending your mind reeling on edge, could earth be bigger it still couldn’t contain a bag of this magnitude. All packed with stories about your transgressions. If your conscious is beset by unrest at the possibility of peers talking about you behind your back, how must your heart rate inflate as it contemplates Satan’s gossip?

 

Foaming at the mouth, flickering flames crawling out of his eyes, charismatically wagging a pointed finger, individually listing all of your failures to an audience of one: God.

 

You can hear the accusations in your head. You can hear them in the whispers.

 

It is in this very moment that Jesus speaks up and talks about us behind our backs. And no, I don’t believe that Jesus flatters us. What's more, I don’t believe that Jesus denies many of the accusations. But he does draw a different conclusion: he says, “Yes, and I made an end to all his sin.” He says, “Yes, but I count her sinful soul free.”

 

Jesus counts us as righteous, and talks of us us as though we are righteous. Even behind our backs.

 

It’s jarring: the fact that Jesus talks about us behind our backs is good news! What might it look like for you to gossip like this? To gossip in such a way that people are counted as more significant after the conversation, not less? To gossip in such a way that people are thought more highly of after the conversation, not less? To gossip about all the ways people are being sanctified rather than failing, performing goods works rather than sinning, loved by God rather than despised by you?

 

That’s the kind of gossip that, by the grace of God, counts others as more significant.

 

FOR SUNDAY

 

REJOICE

 

Father, we approach you this morning burdened by many chains,

Our sin enormous, our guilt heavy, and great are our pains,

 

Help us to rejoice in You!

 

Yes, and we will rejoice, as our church shrouds us in prayer,

And the spirit of Christ absorbs failures too harsh for us to bear,

 

Help us to rejoice in You!

 

It is our eager expectation and hope that you meet us here today,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we plea to you as we say,

 

Help us to rejoice in You!

 

REJOICE

 

Now in full courage we worship Christ as those free from shame,

With our heads, hearts, and hands, to Him is all the glory and fame.

 

Help us to rejoice in You!

 

Christ be honored in our bodies, both in our prayers and our songs,

Christ be honored in our bodies, both in our rights and our wrongs.

 

Help us to rejoice in You!

 

We know not what lies ahead in the lives prepared by you for us,

But all turns out for our deliverance, our Great Deliverer we trust!

 

Help us to rejoice in You!

 

CONFESSION: THE FRONTIER MISSION STATEMENT

 

We confess our delight in the mission of God,

that the Father so loved our city he sent his Son to die,

and so loved his people he sent his Spirit to help.

We long to belong to our city, its suburbs, its neighborhoods,

and we yearn for God’s will be done in Des Moines as it is in heaven

through hospitable rhythms lived by ordinary Christians.

 

Under the conviction of the Spirit we acknowledge that

Our only hope in life and death is that we are not our own

but belong, body and soul, both in life and death,

to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him,

and by obeying his will, commands, and law.

 

Jesus Christ is the truer and better lover of our city,

we have not imaged God’s perfect love for Des Moines

by what we have done and by what we have left undone.

In our church’s thoughts, words, and deeds,

we have not loved our city as we have loved ourselves,

and we invite God’s forgiveness and our city’s patience.

 

We exist for the glory of Jesus and the joy of Des Moines,

We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him,

and with happiness obeying his will, commands, and law.

His common grace for our common good demands that our work

reflect our love, worship, and joy in our great salvation.

We ask that he would give our vocations that our city might flourish.

 

Let Des Moines be glad!

 

 

 

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