Those of you who know me know I often talk about the fact everyone – especially leaders – should have a north wind face. The Scripture tells us:
As the north wind drives away rain, so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue (Proverbs 25.23)
You need to develop a face that says to people: this conversation is over. We are not having this discussion, I don’t talk about these things. Developing a north wind face can save your life, your spirituality, your career and your church. It is very important. There will always be people who want to backbite others to you. There will always be people who want to criticize others to you. There will always be Absaloms wanting to draw you into their rebellion against God and His appointed leaders. Always. And a little leaven can leaven the whole lump.
It only takes 2mg of rat poison, an amount that weighs next to nothing, to kill a man who weighs over 15 stone. It only takes a little bit of backbiting to destroy a whole church. And the way to stop it is to develop this face that shuts people up. The north wind face.
I am adamant that we are going to build a church culture that is unfriendly. Unfriendly to scoffers, mockers, legalists and false prophets that is!
We need to realize the church has the God-given right to exclude people whose presence is unhealthy and undesirable to our services and our culture. God is love, and we have to have an atmosphere of love in the church. Anyone causing unnecessary rain and storms should be driven away with our north wind face.
Jude 12 tells us that our love feasts can have spots in them. People who intrude into the church and impose their hatred on our love, their bitterness on our love, their strife into our harmony. Jude tells us the hallmark of these people is “they speak evil of those things which they know not”. Jude also tells us that they are carried away by winds.
If something can be moved with the wind, it is not substantial. It is light, and unweighty. So don’t start worrying that we might scare off people who are supposed to be with us – they can’t be moved by the wind of your face or mine! But those who are here to cause trouble will be blown away off to cause trouble elsewhere.
So what kind of people do we show the north wind face to? Who do we want blown away?
- Backbiters. That’s what Proverbs 25.23 says. We want people who do not have the courage to run us down to our face out of the church. If someone comes to you to run me down, give them your north wind face. You can be assured I do when they come to run you down! Backbiters become Absaloms quickly!
- Slanderers. It is no mistake that the devil is the slanderer. People who use their tongues to abuse the character of another are not working for God! Psalm 31 tells us slander broke David. If it can break David, it can break any man of God. Help your pastor – when someone comes with slander give them your north wind face
- Double tongued people. One of the qualifications for deacons is that they not be double tongued, saying one thing then saying another.
- A murmurer. The Bible is clear: do all things without murmuring or complaining (Php. 2.14). People who are always speaking out what is wrong with the church, the worship, the preaching, the services, the leaders. Give them your north wind face. Don’t make it hard on your pastor to have them lead the unwilling, discouraged, murmuring, complaining people.
- Talebearers. These are the people who invent stories. It happens. If you haven’t seen it yet, hang on! They separate friends, they pollute the church. You have to get them looking at your north wind face if they come to you. Where there is no wood, the fire goes out, and where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases (Proverbs 26.20). I don’t know about you but I want to come to a church without strife.
- Those who cause divisions and fights. “Now I beseech you brethren, mark those which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine you have learned and avoid them” (Romans 16.17). It is important to know the history of people – people don’t change, they do the same in every church they have been in. I never get overly excited when someone comes to us from another c hurch. I want to know why they moved, I want to know what problems they had in the old place. Because they will arise again, I can assure you.
Some people love causing offenses! They just love fighting. If you say A, they will say B because they want to fight. They will disagree over the most minor of points, they love fighting over frivolous issues. Mark those people and avoid them.
I want to create a culture of transparency and love. Where people are happy to come to church. Where we are not easily offended. Some people will never get with the program. Some people are ravenous wolves. Some people are here to spy out our freedom. Love them, but when they backbite and slander show them your north wind face. Either they will grow up and change for the better or leave. That’s between them and God. We have a duty to honour the Word, honour our church and honour our church leaders.