Effects of sin can spread slowly but effectively
Strychnine is a potent poison derived from the root of exotic plants in Asia. Ingesting 50 milligrams can be fatal to humans; less than one-fourth the active ingredient in a tablet of Ibuprofen.
Strychnine can begin its destructive effects within 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the quantity ingested. The poison attacks the nervous system first, causing all the muscles in the body to contract which creates intense pain, convulsions, respiratory failure, brain death, and eventually death.
Snake venom has a similar affect on the body. Poisoning is a horrible and painful way to die.
Sin is like poison. It doesn’t always surface immediately. Some sin seethes just beneath the surface. Many people who would never abuse alcohol, drugs, cheat on their spouses or start a fist fight might engage in back-biting, gossip and secrets which work like poison in the blood stream.
A sinful tongue stirs up trouble for friendships, families, teams, workplaces and churches. The effects may start slow, infecting only a few, but inevitably its destruction becomes widespread.
The Bible frequently warns of people who allow their tongues to spread evil. “Their throat is a yawning grave; they use their tongues to deceive (to mislead and to deal treacherously). The venom of asps is beneath their lips.” (Romans 3:12-14 Amplified Bible).
“A worthless man devises and digs up mischief, and in his lips there is as a scorching fire. A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:27-29 Amplified Bible).
How do you deal with someone who spreads poison in your group? With strychnine, the poison must immediately be removed from the victim and poisoned tissue removed to save the rest of the body. Often, the damage done by a person with a perverse tongue is so deep that their removal from the group is the only recourse. Sometimes those affected will need to leave as well.
Your group may not be able to survive with poisonous members in place.
It is hopeful that the person spreading poisonous talk will experience change. With God, there is always the potential for repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. Snake bite victims can be given anti-venom to counteract the venom’s effects. They foundational truth in Christianity is that Christ cancels out all sin. It is written: “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.
By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25 NLT).
Del Loy is pastor of Crosspoint Church.