“I’ll tell you why I can’t find you Every time I go out to your place You gone fishin’ Well, there’s a sign upon your door Gone fishin’ You ain’t workin’ anymore There’s your hoe out in the sun Where you left a row half done You claim that hoein’ ain’t no fun You ain’t got no ambition”
– Excerpt from Louis Armstrong & Bing Crosby’s “Gone Fishin”
When I read these lyrics for the first time, it painted a picture in my mind of an unfruitful Christian. The story applies to all of us on occasion: we should be hoeing, but we’re out fishing instead…”we aint got no ambition”! This could vaguely apply to so many areas of our lives, but let us consider how it ties in to the sin of gossip.
Too often we are in a situation where, given the opportunity to bless with our mouth, we choose rather to use our words for cursing; for slandering; for gossiping! Gossip is a sin frequently looked over, because on the surface it seems somewhat harmless. Let me put this quite plainly. Gossip is NEVER harmless. Gossip always hurts the person gossiping, the person being gossiped about, and more often than not, both parties. What exactly is gossip? Gossip is relaying one person’s personal business to another without their consent. Gossip typically – though not always – puts the first person in a bad light.
“Gossip is putting two and two together and making it five” – Ivan Panin
Gossip may be true, partially true, or completely untrue, but the fact of the matter remains: gossiping has no part in the life of the Christian. Gossip hurts. —————————————————————————-
Gossip hurts ME
– It has been said that “What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally”, and in most cases, I believe this statement to be quite true. When we speak, we are opening a door for others to see right into our hearts. Proverbs 10:11 states that “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life”. Let us ask ourselves honestly: Can words of gossip be a well of life? If the answer is no, then how can we continue in this sin, claiming the name of Christ “in whom there is no unrighteousness”? (Ps. 92:15, Rom. 9:14)
He that utters a slander is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18b)
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. (Proverbs 11:13 )
Gossip hurts OTHERS
– Leviticus 19:16 says: Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.
Do you notice how talebearing (gossiping, slandering) is lumped together with “standing against the blood of thy neighbor”? This verse illustrates perfectly how detrimental gossip really is. When we speak ill against our neighbor, it is one and the same as if we had killed him. Consider the “murder” caused by unsavory speech: Gossip can put a damper on friendships and marriages, it can divide churches – ultimately gossip KILLS reputations and burns everyone in it’s path.
An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. (Proverbs 16:27-28) He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. (Proverbs 20:19)
How great a matter a little fire kindleth! (James 3:5b)
Remember: whether gossip is true or not matters little in the sight of our holy God…It is a shame even to speak of those things done in secret (Ephesians 5:12) —————————————————————————-
Gossip hurts THE CHURCH
Where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. (Proverbs 26:20) 1 Thessalonians 4:11 “…study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”
– Gossip puts a bad light on Christ’s church. If the world hears us speaking evil against our neighbors, do you think they want to become a part of us? How can people see the love of Christ in us if we act just as dysfunctional as those who are lost? My mother-in-law is known to say that “If we can’t get along here on earth, how do you think we’ll get along in heaven?” – and it is so true! If we don’t have LOVE for one another we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:2), and gossip is certainly not loving! In fact, love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 is partially defined as “thinking no evil” and “rejoicing not in iniquity, but rejoicing in the truth!” (v 5b-6) A far cry from everything that gossip is…
– Gossip keeps us from doing the work of the church:
2 Thessalonians 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
If we are spending our time focusing on and talking about the faults of others, we have far too much time on our hands….time that should be being used to further God’s kingdom! Gossip only serves to further Satan’s purposes, and does nothing but harm to ours. —————————————————————————-
A good rule of thumb is that if we are not part of the solution to the problem, it is best to keep silent. Always run any hint of gossip through these filters: What is my goal in sharing this? Is my involvement in this situation needed, or am I meddling in things that are no concern of mine? Talking just for the sake of talking is idle speech. An old saying applies: “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. Every time we gossip, we open up the door for many more sins to enter our hearts and minds.
Proverbs 18:7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. 8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Ladies, let us not be likened unto the foolish man, but let our speech always be seasoned with salt, that it might minister grace unto the hearers!