Gossip Is Ear Pollution Proverbs 11:13; 13:3; 18:8; 20:19; 21:23; 26:20-28 The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about what we say. Over 150 times in the book of Proverbs, Proverbs refers to our lips, our mouth, and our tongue. One of the central issues of the Book of Proverbs is how we use our tongue. Pro 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Pro 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. Pro 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Pro 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. -Notice that Solomon addresses the male gender. We talk about women who are gossips, but men can hold their own. “He that flattereth with his lips” is not talking about seomone who is complementary; it is not talking about someone who says nice things; it is talking about someone who is distorting the issue; always blowing things out of proportion. Pro 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Pro 26:21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. Pro 26:22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Pro 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. Pro 26:24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; Pro 26:25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Pro 26:26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Pro 26:27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. Pro 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin. -A talebearer's tongue is always busy at work, prying into other people's business, diving into family matters, searching out their secrets, meddling in their concerns. They injure and kill the name and reputations of others. Gossip is a serious problem – even among Christians. Someone has said that the fastest form of communication is the Baptist Grapevine! -James says that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity...and is set on fire of hell. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” -Words have a way of spreading like a fire on a windy day...and, we are prone to believe what we hear – true or not. Gossip is a very allusive sin. I know that you probably know of someone who is a gossip; and I think I know of some gossips. It's amazing to me that some folks have the scoop on everything that's going on; or they make it their business to know the business of everyone else. -I say gossip is an allusive sin because I know a lot of folks who know OTHERS who are gossips, but THEY are not gossips. -Gossip is a strange, allusive sin, and, yet, it may be one of the most Prevalent sins in our church today. It's a sin that we make lite of; we make jokes about; we make fun of; and we act as if there is nothing wrong with gossip; even when it's talk that hurts and destroys others. Solomon talks very pointedly about the problem of gossip: I. The Presentation of Gossip 74 What is gossip in the first place? The dictionary would define gossip like this: “Idle talk; to reveal personal secrets; to reveal things that you know; the telling what you should not in a group; to reveal things to people who are not part of the problem and who cannot be part of the solution and have no business knowing about it in the first place; revealing things to others things that should not be revealed. Let me show you what you will find in most gossip: 1.Most, if not all, gossip will have some element of untruth in it. 2.It is easier to repeat what you hear than to find out the truth about a matter. 3.We tend to listen more about the failures, the troubles, and the sufferings of a person than we do about the good things and things that should cause us to rejoice with the person or celebrate good with them. 4.Sometimes gossip among Christians is prefaced by spiritually sounding words: “I want you to pray with me about...” and we share something that should never be repeated or shared. Now, let me share some characteristics of gossip from the Bible: A. Gossip is always sensational – 26:22 The NASB translates the verse: “The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels” (Something sweet in the mouth). -That is why most of the time in the Book of Proverbs, the word “gossip” is translated by the word “talebearer.” It is taking the story; taking the tale and blowing it up, making it bigger than it really is and adding spice to what is being told. The person telling the tale has no need nor right to pass it on, but they do. Pro 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Solomon adds that a gossip also has an instiable appetite to hear gossip. They eagerly swallow every dainty morsel. Like tasty food being digested, gossiped news is assimilated in the inner most parts by the eager listeners. The gossip is treasured up in the memory, retained, and ready to be used as the opportunity presents itself. Both the one who spreads the gossip and the one who willfully listens to gossip is equally guilty. B. Gossip is always slanted Gossip is characterized by being slanted downward. Gossip is never good. It is never on the upside. It is slanted to hurt someone. There was a certain man who didn't like his pastor and wanted to see him run off. Not knowing exactly how to go about running the pastor off, he started a simple questioning campaign. He would get with an individual or with a group and he would raise this question over and over: “Things are not really going right down at the church, are they?” Well, things can always be better in a church. The man would ask the question with a gentle focus on the pastor. Finally, the pastor had to resign, and it was all because of this man. Things may not have been going right, but the man certainly didn't help anything. 75 Nobody's Friend My name is Gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I'm quoted, the more I'm believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I am nobody's friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and wreck marriages. I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion. I spawn suspicion and generate grief. I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses. I am called “gossip”. Office gossip. Shop gossip. Telephone gossip. Church gossip. I make headlines and headaches. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself, “Is it true?”; “Is it fair?”; “Is it necessary?” If not – SHUT UP! C. Gossip is always Secretive – 11:13 Notice: “A talebearer reveals secrets.” Gossip is the abuse of privileged information. -There are things that I know and I know to be true that I would never tell. And there are things that you know to be true that, if you are a person of a faithful spirit, you will keep to yourself. -I've heard folks say, “Well, I'd tell him the same thing to his face.” Well, go and talk to him about it; go and talk to her about it, but don't go spread it all over town; don't go spread it all over church! “A talebearer reveals secrets.” D. Gossip stirs up and sows strife – 16:28; 17:9 “A froward (perverse) man sows strife.” He takes pleasure in digging up evil and the chief instrument of mischief is his tongue. He “digs”, so he “sows”, he “repeats it.” 17:9 If we bear patiently, silently, and conceal something that was done or said against us, we put love into practice, because love covers a multitude of sins. He who conceals a personal injury practices the law of love, but he who uncovers the injury and holds a grudge, causes a breach in friendships and will destroy friendships. -Have you ever heard someone say, “Now, don't repeat this, but...” “This comes from a reliable source...” “I'm just trying to inform you.” II. The Participants of Gossip For gossip to take place, there must be two willing participants. A.A Loose Tongue James 3 says that it takes a spiritually mature man to control his tongue. -A man was trying to get his friend to tell him a spicy piece of gossip. He said to him, “Can you keep a secret?” He assured him he could. The man said, “So can I”, and he refused to say any more. B.A Longing, Listening Ear “Tell me! Give me the scoop! Tell me the low-down!” -Remember: If someone will gossip TO you, they will gossip ABOUT you! 76 III. The Prevention of Gossip – 26:20 How can we prevent gossip? Refuse Participation! Why do we gossip so much? • Lack of control – we speak before we think. • Lack of concern – we don't consider what our words will do to others. • Lack of commitment – commitment to Christ translated into wanting the best for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Someone said that there are three types of gossips: • The collar button type, who are always popping off • The vacuum cleaner type, who are always picking up dirt • The Liniment type, who are always rubbing it in. Gossip is not cute. It is destructive. Before you speak, stop and think!
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