Remember this guy?
Heâ€™s the one in the back.
He was a pretty unique idea for a character in J.R. Tolkienâ€™s â€œThe Two Towers.â€ So unique, in fact, that most of us assume heâ€™s one of a kind.
Not so. It seems every church has a few, every family has at least one and wherever there is a group of almost any kind, a â€˜Wormtongueâ€™ is sure to be lurking nearby.
Believe it or not, the Bible even talks about this reckless, disunifying and twisted individual.
What do they do? I mean, whatâ€™s their MO? Are they easy to spot? Difficult to deal with? Youâ€™re freaking me out, pastor Rob. I think I might know one! What if I am one? AAAAAaaaauuuggghhhh!
Calm down, the answer to your questions are, â€˜Bad things, slander and sugary lies, most of the time, and â€˜it depends.â€™
Oops, that might be a little too short of a summary. Iâ€™ll explain what they do and then tell you why you often have to separate yourself from such people in order to move forward in your Christian walk.
First, what sort of â€œbad thingsâ€ to they do?
- Divide families
- Split churches
- Break up marriages
- End friendships
- Promote violence and hatred and, the worst thing of allâ€¦
- Cause you to waste your life.
The master of a Wormtongue is never the Lord. That leaves few options. But because the options are few (one) these spiritual flesh eating monsters are pretty easy to spot:
But rather than taking my word for it, let me allow the Bible to tell you:
The religious Wormtongue is spoken of here: For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 Jesus was talking to the religious leaders of His day here.
The Mystic Wormtongue is referred to several times here: 6They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10“You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. Acts 13:6â€“12
The counterfeit Wormtongue here: I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. Acts 20:29 and here, in verses 28â€“30,
28Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.[a] Be shepherds of the church of God,[b] which he bought with his own blood. 29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
There are a few more, the Reckless Wormtongue, the Sniper Wormtongue, the Bull in a China Shop Wormtongue, the False Friend Wormtongue, the Group Forming Wormtongue, the Infiltrating Wormtongue and more, but I wouldnâ€™t waste your time trying to learn about these. Instead, concentrate on following the True Shepherd and He will teach you how to spot these Cancerous Canines in the blink of an eye.
Once that happens, what do we do next, pastor?
You deal with it. Immediately and decisively. Wolves eat sheep. They cannot live in harmony. Iâ€™ve never seen a wolf that was a vegetarian. Sooner or later, they will devour someone (or several someone’s). Donâ€™t let that happen. When they show their true colors, act immediately. Hereâ€™s the order;
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. Titus 3:10
One word of caution, confirm your suspicions with trusted, godly people. Many believers today use scriptures like this in order to get rid of people who are actually speaking truth. That’s a misuse of Godâ€™s Word that is all too common. That’s why you need godly council.
But seek it quick. While youâ€™re waiting, Wormtongue (the wolf) is hunting.