The Sin Of Gossip

November 30, 2013

The Sin Of Gossip

            There are Christians who would never use profanity, but they are willing to use their tongues in an equally wicked way.  That is the sin of gossip. According to the dictionary, gossip is to disclose something, often of questionable veracity, that is better kept to oneself.   It appears as if those who gossip have never read the third chapter of James.  If they have, they aren’t applying it.

Many years ago I heard the following good advice about gossip.  I was told that we should ask ourselves the following questions before we say anything detrimental about anyone:

  1.  Am I 100% certain that it is true?  If there is any doubt about it, it’s best that you don’t say it.
  2. Will it be beneficial?  Will it benefit in any way the person about whom I plan to speak in a negative way?  Will it benefit in any way the person to whom I plan to share it?  The answer could be “yes,” if it’s a matter of deceit or damage that could be done to that person.
  3. Is it necessary?  What reason do I have for sharing this with others?  Is it gossip?  If so, don’t say it.

We need to be convinced that gossip is sin.  Since it is condemned by God, we are rebelling against him if we practice it.  Gossip causes much damage to God’s work.  A Christian may think, “I’ll just share this bit of gossip with another Christian.” Somehow it makes its way to the ears of unbelievers.  Some unbelievers are constantly looking for something to justify their rejection of Christianity.

Gossip creates a bad spirit in a church.  In Proverbs 6:19 gossip is listed among things that are an abomination to God. “A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Many people have been hurt by gossip.  If you are guilty of gossiping, you need to confess it to God, ask his forgiveness, and his help in getting victory over it.  You will be greatly helped in gaining victory over it by reading James chapter three several times, and meditating on it.  It wasn’t in vain that James said “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell”(James 3:6).

James 4:11 speaks out also against those who speak evil of another brother. “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.” Gossip is a sin that is mentioned in other places in the Bible.  Psalm 50:20 says, “Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.” In Romans 1:29 gossip is included in the word “whisperers.”

James 4:11 says that the one who gossips about another brother has set himself up as a judge of the law.  It appears that James is saying that the one who judges thinks God’s law against speaking evil of another brother is unjust and therefore he is justified in breaking it.  He then asks the question in verse 12, “Who art thou that judgest another?”  In Romans 14:4 the Apostle Paul asks a similar question.  “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

There is, of course, a time when we need to judge.  In that case, Matthew 18:15-17 tells us how we should do it.  Galatians 6:1 gives us another bit of advice as to what we should do if a brother is overtaken in a fault. “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.”

God will be the final judge of all of us.  II Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Again and again in the Bible we are told that it is our duty to love our brothers in Christ.  John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.   By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”    We are never given liberty or a commandment to murmur against a brother in Christ. I John 2:9 says , “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.”

We all need to accept the fact that it’s impossible to serve God by means of gossip.  To the contrary, we do more damage than good.  If you find it necessary to share with another brother in Christ that a brother is doing something wrong, do it with respect and in love.     If you don’t have a good reason for telling him, it would be gossip if you do it.

The best thing we can do for gossip is to let it die.  If we refuse to pass it on, it may die.  If we pass gossip on, we are just as guilty as the one who started it.  Keep in mind that God hates those who sow discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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