A Sower of Seeds of Discord
of Discord ... the term is found in the biblical list of six things that the
Proverbs 6:12-19 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Often times all of these things that the Lord hates are present in the same individual. We are looking specifically at the “sower of discord.” The Hebrew word rendered discord here is “Medan.” Strong's Hebrew Dictionary 4090. m@dan med-awn' a form of 4066:—discord, strife. See Hebrew 4066
This word is the same used in the following passage for “strifes.” Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
/n. ˈdɪskɔrd; v. dɪsˈkɔrd/ Show Spelled [n. dis-kawrd; v. dis-kawrd] noun
1. lack of concord or harmony between persons or things: marital discord.
2. disagreement; difference of opinion.
3. strife; dispute; war.
4. Music. an inharmonious combination of musical tones sounded together.
5. any confused or harsh noise; dissonance.
What Does The Bible Teach Us About Those Who Plant "Seeds "of Discord?
"Sowers of Discord" sow the seeds of bitterness, anger, distrust, and hatred into the ground of other people’s hearts. These actions do not come from the Spirit of God. Such divisive behavior is included in what the bible calls “the works of the flesh.”
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
This is not a fleshly battle but a spiritual one. It is not ‘this man vs that man’ but ‘the spiritual enemies of Christ versus his Church.’ Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Sowing Seeds of Dissatisfaction and Conflict
Sowers of Discord are usually driven to serve their own interests and are themselves driven, scourged and mired in relentless spin. These Sowers exploit the passion/emotion of others, and, more often than not, derive pleasure from conflict. Sometimes they are aware of what they are doing but sometimes they just play into the hands of spiritual forces that are intent upon destroying the mission of the church. They regularly nourish these feelings that drive their behavior by brooding on, real or perceived: past injuries, present suspicions and future insecurities. They are often propelled by inner turmoil.
The Sower of Discord probes the vulnerabilities of other's; seeking for weak points to expose and exploit. "Sowers of Discord" generally may present some valid points but generally do not offer constructive criticism. Instead of pulling God's people together, they divide them. They project their angry hostile behaviors onto people in the congregation (usually the leaders). The targets are usually not the cause of the antagonism, but merely recipients of it.
"Sowers of Discord" seek to attract followers to make their divisive cases appear stronger. Some reasons why individuals follow "Sowers of Discord" include the fact that people sometimes mistake "Sowers of Discord" for activists. They may present themselves as working for a good cause. It’s easier to lose focus on yourself when you are able to critically look at others. Negative emotions, lies, half-truths and innuendo are often far more exciting than the truth. To the natural man, bad news is more exciting than good news. All believers must guard their heart.
Believers are told to not speak evil about each other. 1 Corinthians 13 teachs us that love should be the ways of all who believe. Love isn’t prideful. If you keep a list of wrongs people do that isn’t biblical love. If you are suspicious and think evil of your brethren – that is not Christian love.
James 4:10-12 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
Proverbs 23:6-8 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
This verse says this person will go through the motions of fellowship with you but that their heart is not with you. That isn’t righteous. That isn’t Christian love.
What Does The Bible Teach Us To Do About "Sowers of Discord?"
The immersion of a repentant believer takes away the penalty of sin, but it does not mean that it takes away the “sinful nature.” The sinful nature will take time to be removed. We need daily to fight against it. Leaving behind sinful nature and developing the new man inside us requires us to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16-25). The “sinful nature” and the “Spirit” are against each other. Christians need to crucify “the sinful nature with its passion and desires” and to keep in step with the Spirit.
The scriptures instruct us that loving church discipline must be exercised so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and that they may return to the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.).
Confrontation And Expulsion
The Sower of Discord should be approached following the Matthew 18 Protocol. It is here we find that after a third admonition to repent of the sinful behavior that the congregation is to expel such a one from the fellowship. “Expel the wicked man from among you” (1 Cor 5:13). Paul is quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy (Deut 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21, 24; 24:7.) They were to purge the evil from among them. The reason for that was to remove signs and possible influences of evil. Paul argument in 1 Corinthians 5 is that the same as a little yeast “corrupts” the whole dough, in the same way that one man’s influence can corrupt the whole body. “A rotted apple, rots the whole basket.” There are times when a cancer must be cut out; there are times when drastic measures must be taken to avoid infection. Paul’s desire was not to hurt the man or to show Paul’s power. It is the pastor’s desire to protect His infant Church from the ever threatening infection of the world. This is, in effect, like a quarantine of an unclean person from the rest, which may completely cut off the person from spiritual Israel if they remain unrepentant.
Let’s read Matt 18 here: Matthew 18:14-18 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
This passage tells us to not treat the offender as part of the Body any longer. Other scriptures that can help us relate how to handle ourselves in such a matter might include:
Titus 3:10 A man that is divisive after the first and second admonition reject; [KJV2000] This means do not accept them in fellowship as a brother.
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. [KJV] This means you cut them off in love ... not in hatred. Some may call it ‘tough love.’
Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. [KJV] To ‘mark’ them means to keep an eye out for them and warn others. This verse says to ‘avoid them’ which reiterates the dis-fellowshipping of the unrepentant offending individual.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. [KJV]
World English Dictionary rail 2 (reɪl) ( intr ; foll by at or against ) to complain bitterly or vehemently: to rail against fate
Truth In Love
It must be clearly understood that we are not to reward evil for evil. We are not to treat the offender as an enemy but as a quarantined brother under discipline until he repents and returns or rejects the Body himself (at which point they are “cut off” having no light in them). Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
The idea is that when the person loses his “ Christian community” this will cause him to think and ponder. It will cause him to change his life and heart and turn to God. When he does so, then you have gained your brother! The end game is reconciliation. That is the desire of the Father. That is the desire of the congregation. So the purpose of church discipline is to cause change, to destroy the sinful nature and to rid all the evil influences within the people of God.
We need to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15), and in order to do so we have to see them as brothers and not as our enemies. It is our purpose that they renew and restore their relationship with God. Pray to God, be thoughtful, choose the words, speak with grace and leave God with the results. Love and harmony is what we are trying to promote, and that is what we need to display in the context.
After Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to withdraw fellowship from the erring brother, he would write in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2, and verses 5 to 11 to restore this man to fellowship. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 “But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Here comes in play the restoration. Full restoration means forgiveness, comforting and reaffirmation of love. The person needs them in order to heal. God knows the heart, and we trust to see him/her “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8).
It’s understandable that taking this disciplinary action on a brother makes the church uncomfortable. It should. It is not meant to be easy ... but it is expected to be done.
Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
And then, there is the question of priorities --- What value do you place on the Lord's work? We must decide whether our love and loyalty is to be to some friend/brother of ours --- or to God. To do nothing, concedes to the "Sower of Discord" the right to continue behaving destructively; damaging God's people and discrediting God's church. "Sowers of Discord" are not loved or blessed simply by letting them have their own way. Letting a small child play with matches is not a loving action. Permitting a drunk person to drive a car is not a loving action. Allowing "Sowers of Discord" to wreak havoc in the midst of and at the expense of the Lord's Church is not a loving action.
Sometimes when we try to help a friend, we merely encourage him to continue in his sin. Sympathizing with him in his backbiting and criticism will never bring him to be ashamed --- it will only encourage him in his sin. If the Church were to follow Christ's teaching --- this person would be excluded from church fellowship with the end hope of full reconciliation. Remember, we are men under authority, and our Master expects us to seek to gain the lost.
Download a pdf version of this article for printing and sharing
By Kenneth Hoeck. Truth On The Web Ministries.
This article may be freely distributed amongst the churches of God regardless of denominations. The Lord does not agree with such divisions. Portions of this article were adapted from a letter by Pastor T. Case.