From HA Ironside’s commentary on Ezra,  chapter 9  “Breakdown by Amalgamation”


"There is perhaps no greater trial a man can be called upon to face, than to take, through grace, a position he has seen from the word of God to be scriptural, and then to be rudely awakened to the realization that the people who were in that position before him, are not what he had hoped them to be.   Yea, that they are even less spiritual, less devoted, and less zealous for God than some he has left behind him in systems where quasi-darkness prevailed.  Then indeed one needs to be firmly held by the truth, or he is likely to be altogether and completely disheartened.   Many an unstable soul has, by such a test, been utterly swept away from his moorings.  Such ones often go back in despair to the unscriptural positions they had abandoned, and give out a 'bad report of the land,' thus hindering others from following the light vouchsafed to them.   While some, with too much conscience to build again the things they had destroyed, become what one might call spiritual free lances -- and sometimes, alas, spiritual Ishmaelites, their hand against every man, and every man's hand against them; criticizing, fault-finding, restless and unhappy;   occupied with evil, lamenting the condition of the times; bewailing the unfaithfulness of anybody and everybody but themselves; and so falling into the spirit of phariseeism that is helpful to no one and a hindrance to all they come in contact with."


Now all this results from occupation with persons instead of with Christ.  It is supposed that because people occupy a position of peculiar favor, and have been blessed with special light, they must needs be personally more to be relied on that the generality of Christians, and that the flesh is less likely to act in them than in others.   Often one hears of people 'coming out to certain brethren' or 'joining' this or that company of saints.  All this is bound to result in disaster.

It is to Christ alone we are called to go forth, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  He, blessed be God, never disappoints.  If the eye be fixed on Him -- if the heart be occupied with Him -- if He be recognized as the one only Center -- then, let saints be what they may as to their spiritual state, there can be no lasting disappointment, for Christ abides.

If I see it to be according to Scripture to gather with fellow believers to the name of the Lord Jesus, owning that 'there is one body, and one Spirit,' the behavior of those already so gathered cannot alter this truth for one moment.   Instead, it calls for exercise of soul on my part that I may be a help to them, stirring them up to fresh devotion and renewed zeal in self judgment.

It is far easier to stand aside and point out the low state of the rest -- even to withdraw altogether from their company -- than to emulate Ezra, who, by his personal faithfulness, lifted the whole company to a higher plane.  There will be less trouble, less perplexity, less concern, if one simply turns away and leaves the rest to go on as they will; but God is not thereby glorified nor are failing saints recovered....."

 

A better way, as quoted from C. Deike:  If you’re going to gossip in your church, as Paul and James would agree, gossip like Jesus. When you talk about other members behind their backs, speak with a flavor that leaves the listener with a higher-view of that member. When you talk behind the backs of church members, talk about the fruit of their spiritual lives — the progress, the work of Christ, in their lives. In other words: has Christ imputed righteousness to you? Now, impute esteem to others.