2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
21And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
The apostle Paul was troubled greatly by the behaviour of the Corinthian believers. Due to their carnality, he could not speak to them as he would mature believers (1 Corinthians 3:1). Not only was Paul troubled by their actions during his absence, but also feared their condition when they would again meet face-to-face. He warned the believers that he would not be pleased if he found them guilty of such sins. Among the other shortcomings, Paul expressly mentioned their backbiting ways. The hope was that the Corinthian believers would repent of these grievous sins and simply do right. These admonitions should make believers reflect on the fact that the Lord Jesus could also come at any moment. How would He find us? Would we too be guilty of “debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings,” and “tumults”?
- (For children): Romans 14:12 says we will one day explain our actions to God. This includes our speech. He knows everything we have ever said (Psalm 139:4). Our words should be said in the name of the Lord (Colossians 3:17) and to His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
- (For everyone): How pleased do you think the Lord is when we allow our words to devour other brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you believe the Bible when it says that you will answer for these things at the coming judgment?
- Have you said things about someone that you should not have said? Have you brought harm to another person with your words? What have you done to make this right?
- Ask God to remind you of people you have hurt with your words.
- Ask God to help you say only those things He wants you to say.