"Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses … doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily." – 1 Timothy 5:19-22 NASB
Having differences of opinion is natural. Disagreements with others about events and meanings, criticisms, and judgments are common, even within the body of Christ.
But Paul made it clear: We are to be careful before we judge or criticize others. We specifically are not to accuse or speak against leaders unless there are “two or three witnesses.” The goal was to set a standard “so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning” (v. 20).
Paul knew the damage that can be done through gossip and quiet whispers. But God wants us to bring forth charges only in a public forum. This process is designed to force us to be sure before we make any accusations and deal with every charge in a public manner so everyone can hear the entire case. We are not to try people based on rumors or gossip.
The Bible reminds us that no one is to rush (or be rushed) into a position of authority. These positions are reserved for people who have been tested and mature in their faith. Further, each of us has a responsibility to “keep yourself free from sin” (v. 22). We are not to focus on the sins of others or look for opportunities to accuse others of mistakes.
Seek to be pure in God’s sight and thereby pleasing to Him. Be careful before you criticize or judge others.
PrayerFather, put a guard over my mouth. Help me to be careful before criticizing others. May my life be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Extended Reading1 Timothy 5