This morning in my devotional reading from I Peter 4:15, I came across a scripture that leapt out at me and prompted me to give pause so as to ponder the link between the first line of warning in the verse and the last.
The scripture verse reads:
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. -I Peter 4:15 (KJV)
I did not immediately grasp the link between the first line and the last but felt the need to stay with it until the reasoning behind it became more clear.
I later saw that the reasoning behind the connection was that both were warnings of murder; different types of murder, yes, but nonetheless murder.
The first line was a warning in regard to a murderer, a person who, of course, physically kills another person. The last line was a warning in regard to a different type of murder committed by a busybody, a person who kills a person's character with his/her tongue.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell. -James 3:6 (KJV)
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth for that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. -Luke 6:45 (KJV)
These scriptures both relay to us how our tongues reveal to others what is in our hearts: good or evil; because if evil is governing our talk, we will become a busybody who will use our bodies to busy itself with going here, there, and yon to fling corruptive verbal jabs at one, or ones, that will eventually assassinate their character(s).
Although we have much more to learn about becoming effective Christian witnesses for Christ, there should come a time when we realize that this kind of talk is representative of a "stunted growth of conscious;"i.e., a morbid level of immaturity that invites the evil one to keep us deceived about the dangers we are bringing upon ourselves and others with busybodying.
This time will come if we are serious about our walk with God, read His word on a consistent basis, practice what we've read, pray often, and endeavor to please Our Heavenly Father; then, more times than not, we will not desire to practice nor engage in, this ungodly and treacherous kind of talk nor will we desire to do other things that displease him because as we mature in Him, we mature in our fleshly self as well.
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. -Lam. 3:22 (KJV)
Yes, the Lord is compassionate and patient with us but His compassion and patience does not license us to willfully engage in, and practice, behaviors that bring treacherous results for ourselves or for others. We need to take heed to what His word says, practice it, and learn to love one another so as not disgrace the marvelous Grace that God has so unselfishly and bountifully given us.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. -Ec. 12: 13,14 (KJV)