Paul spoke to the Galatian church about the freedom which comes with serving God. Paul’s ministry was to the Gentiles and he did not think that it was necessary to burden them with matters such as circumcision. Despite Paul’s efforts, other religious groups were putting pressure on the Gentiles to become circumcised. Paul was very frustrated about the attempt to put the people in religious bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Paul likened their acceptance of any amount of false teaching, as being dangerous enough to corrupt their entire faith. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Paul wanted them to continue to live in freedom. His only caution was that they would not use, their freedom as an excuse to commit sin. The main admonition that Paul had for the church was to love and serve one another. Paul later stated that if they bite and devour one another, then they should watch that they are not consumed by one another. Paul was saying that it was important for the church to remain in unity.
The biting and devouring which Paul spoke about related to back biting, criticising and ongoing conflicts. One of the main features of this is slander and gossip. “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: So where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Proverbs 26:20). Similar to Paul’s exaltation, Solomon was saying that talebearing increases strife. Not everything needs to be said and before we have some conversations and divulge information, we have to consider the consequences. Will your conversation paint someone in a negative light?
Are you encouraging bitterness, resentment and animosity? One of the best ways to settle a disagreement is to talk to the person whose behaviour we find offensive. Praying for the person is also a good way to start. Don’t use the excuse of, ‘wanting to pray for someone,’ as an reason to gossip about them. If you do then you are operating under the spirit of deception. If you are serious about wanting to help someone, you will pray before discussing the matter with anyone else. These small nuances can act as a stumbling block towards spiritual growth.
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom” (Song of Solomon 2:15).