“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
It means to “spread the word”. I suppose gossip and calumny and slander would be the dark end of that spectrum. One of the most deplorable situations in which one could find themselves. But how do you know this is happening? As a matter of fact, how do you know it’s not? God knows.
“Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man: Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:20)
I suppose our social senses are attuned to our circle. And we move in and out like physical venn diagrams. It takes a miracle to intersect and remain friends with those from other circles. But even as these miracles happen, there are those of other realms–while somewhat in concert with the representative now acquainted with you–who will never be a part of your circle. I don’t know how else to say it. Jesus’ disciples didn’t hang around with John’s. Even though they preached the same message. In Matthew’s gospel (9:14-17), John’s disciples take it up with Jesus, asking Him why His disciples aren’t held to the same strictures as they. Jesus answers very plainly by saying how Jesus’ disciples have Him. And while this certainly sounds like the better thing (would you choose to be John’s or Jesus’ disciple?), I can imagine the responsibility would be higher.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings.” (Philippians 2:13-14, emphasis mine)
There’s a lot to be said for following God for oneself and endeavoring to remain true in spite of a near-incessant call to submit to a way of life–I’m talking about an inter-church atmosphere–that is ultimately going to blunt the way you walk with God. It very well may arouse misunderstanding and hopefully not gossip or any malicious perceptions. There’s a lot to this for either side, but the point is, “we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25b) And while it can be hard to feel isolated in spite of a “Christian population density”, know that Jesus is with you just as much as with they. There could be something you (or I) are blind to. Ways we may have rubbed someone the wrong way and not even know it. It’s a fine line between walking before the Lord and stepping on people’s toes. I find that it boils down, most times, to what Paul said about “travail[ing] in birth again until Christ be formed in [them].” (Galatians 4:19b)