And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. (1 Timothy 5:13)
Rattlers And Tattlers In The Church
A rattler is a noun form of one who rattles and is most often referred to as a rattlesnake. To rattle something is to make short sharp knocking sounds in quick succession. The rattlesnake is a venomous snake whose name is derived from the Latinized form of the Greek word for tail rattler. This means of warning is given when a rattlesnake is startled or threatened warning predators or unfortunate passer-by to beware. It can be a troublesome sound to the unsuspecting person as fear of injury or death could be the result of being inattentive to its warning. The rattlesnake if the most common injury by snakebite and can, while not often, lead to death. There is no doubt the rattlesnake is a very dangerous animal that can bring much sorrow, harm, and misery. A relative of the rattler is a person who is a tattler if nothing more than poetically observant. Paul warns the preacher Timothy to remind the brethren and especially the young widows in the congregation not to gossip or become busybodies in other people’s affairs. While the admonition specifies the young widows, this does not leave out the reality that others will not find tasteful the delectable morsels of gossip an appealing pastime. The early forms of the word used for gossip come from the idea of overflowing with talk meaning more is said that needs to be said. A prater is one who talks in a silly way and at length about nothing important often filling in the blanks with their own opinions. Triflers are also described as people who talk about trivial matters of no importance but enjoy a dish of gossip to tickle the ears of willing receptors of nonsense. Gossipers are people who talk about idle and improper conversation leading often to the destruction of lives through malicious talk with little or no truth or preconceived opinions based on fantasy. As James described in his book, the tongue becomes an unrestrained license to demean the character of others like an uncontrolled fire or a horse without a bridle.
The church of Christ is the family of God. What is most disturbing about the admonition of Paul to Timothy is the warning given to children of God concerning the conduct of members of the body of Christ towards one another and others. There are ample instructions given in the epistles that brethren should be careful with their tongues. As the elect of God, holy and beloved, Christians are to have hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and bearing with one another. There should never be dishonest talk come out of the mouths of Christians, but only such as is good for building up and speaking well of others. As a family of God, the Father desires for His children to love and care for one another. Gossip is one of the most destructive tools of Satan to destroy the lives of God’s people. The church of Jesus Christ was bought with His blood and as Head of the church, the Lord has no desire to hear the members slander others, murmur against the shepherds, preachers, teachers or fellow members as this leads to dissension, disharmony, and sin. When a word is spoken it must be in the name of Jesus meaning with the grace of the Son of God addressing the conversation. It must be remembered that what is said here below echoes through the halls of God’s righteousness and all words said in this life will be brought before the soul standing in judgment. Nothing is hidden from the ear of the Lord God. He hears every word that is said (and that includes Facebook).
In a world filled with religious error, the church of Christ should not be viewed by the world as body of people that gossip about one another and about others. Rattlers are dangerous creatures in the wild but tattlers are dangerous for the church demeaning the holy character of why Jesus gave His life for the Beloved. The example of Christian’s showing restraint in their speech is one of the most important ways to impress upon others the importance of being sanctified in Christ. A change takes place when the soul enters into a covenant with God to change their thinking and the manner of their speech to be filled with holiness and righteousness. Being idle and wandering about from house to house gossiping about things that should not be spoken damages the church of Christ and its mission. This can destroy the faith of some including those involved. Let the church be the glory of a people that season their speech with the grace of God. Do not let the speech of the carnal world betray the real character of those who speak for Christ in a dark and perverse generation. If you are a rattler in the church get rid of your tattler.