Motor Mouths and Idle Chatter

 

ConfidentialWhen I purchased a new computer several years ago, Best Buy packaged it with a copy of a virus protection program called Kaspersky.  I liked the program and would have renewed my subscription except for the fact that it was a Russian company.

I was a bit puzzled by my reluctance to re-subscribe and wondered if it was due to living through the Cold War era. It just didn’t make sense to purchase a virus and spyware program from a country noted for its spying and corruption.

Kaspersky is making news again this week, and guess why—it’s for spying.  The company has developed a program that allows a government or an employer to eavesdrop on your mobile calls. InfoWatch, a subsidiary of Kaspersky, is using technology originally developed for the Soviet KGB, and, they’re trying to market it to businesses and government agencies around the world.

The Russian software company isn’t the only one who has been listening to confidential conversations.  God has been doing it for quite some time, and Jesus issued a warning to motor mouths and their idle chatter: I say to you that for every idle (careless or irreverent) word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment (Matthew 12:36).

In his classic work, Matthew Henry offers an interesting commentary on the words of Jesus: The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, that we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.

Which is more unsettling to you: the eavesdropping of Big Brother Kaspersky, or the thought that God hears every word you say?  As you think about this, I’ll leave you with two other statements for your consideration:

  • 2 Timothy 2:16: Avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness.
  • Proverbs 14:13: Idle chatter leads only to poverty.

Recant or “I can’t!”

isisI have often wondered what I would do if my faith was put to the test.  If I was order to recant or die, would I recant or would I be willing to die the death of a martyr?  This dilemma is more than a question to the Christians living in the city of Al-Qaryaten:  It’s reality.

To live, they must agree to pay a tax and sign a contract that states they will live in accord with each of the 11 points of the document below.

  1. Christians may not build churches, monasteries, or hermitages in the city or in the surrounding areas.
  2. They may not show the cross or any of their books in the Muslims’ streets or markets, and may not use amplifiers when worshiping or during prayer.
  3. They may not make Muslims hear the reciting of their books or the sounds of church bells, which must be rung only inside their churches.
  4. They may not carry out any act of aggression against ISIS, such as giving refuge to spies and wanted men. If they come to know of any plot against Muslims, they must report it.
  5. They must not perform religious rituals in public.
  6. They must respect Muslims and not criticize their religion.
  7. Wealthy Christians must pay an annual jizya of four gold dinars; middle-class Christians must pay two gold dinars, and the poor must pay one. Christians must disclose their income, and may split the jizya into two payments.
  8. They may not own guns.
  9. They may not engage in commercial activity involving pigs or alcohol with Muslims or in Muslim markets, and may not drink alcohol in public.
  10. They may maintain their own cemeteries.
  11. They must abide by ISIS dress code and commerce guidelines.

When I think of the predicament these Christians are facing, I think of what Peter said about persecution:

“Although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials.  Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold—gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away—and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you . . . those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator (I Peter).”

Two Notes:

  1. This 2 minute video will help to answer the question: Who is ISIS?
  2. MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) is the source for the contract above and photo I used.