Our Actions Affect the Congregation
At Proverbs 11:11 we read: “Because of the blessing of the upright ones a town is exalted, but because of the mouth of the wicked ones it gets torn down.”
Townspeople who follow an upright course promote peace and well-being and upbuild others, and a town prospers. Those who speak slanderous, hurtful and wrong things bring unrest, unhappiness, disunity and trouble. This is particularly so if these persons are in a position of influence. Such a town suffers disorder, corruption and moral and economic deterioration.
The principle here stated applies among Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, as they “dwell” in their townlike congregations. A congregation in which Scripturally oriented, spiritual persons have influence finds itself happy, active, helpful to its members, bringing honor to God. God is pleased and prospers the congregation spiritually. But those who are disgruntled, dissatisfied, who find fault and speak bitterly against the way things are done are like a “poisonous root” that can spread, to poison others not initially affected. (Heb. 12:15) The troublesome ones often want more authority and prominence. They cause divisions by stirring up rumors that there is laxity, or injustice, or ethnic prejudice, and so forth, in the congregation or on the part of the elders.
Another proverb deals with this principle on an individual basis, saying: “The calmness of the tongue is a tree of life, but distortion in it means a breaking down in the spirit.” (Prov. 15:4) The tongue that speaks well and truthfully in mildness, kindness and humility has a good effect on the hearer. It raises him up and builds him up spiritually and, consequently, contributes to the spiritual health of the entire congregation. But the distorted tongue wounds and breaks down the spirit of its hearers, giving them no good or nourishing thoughts to help them on the way to life. In effect, the bad tongue tends to bring spiritual ruin and death to others.