Gossip is nasty.
Just recently, I was so downcast by this sin that seemed rampant around me. I have felt the sting that accompanied along side of it. I wish I could say this was in the context of secular culture, however the reality is I’ve felt it most amongst Christians believers, the very people who have been told to speak with grace. (Col. 4:6)
I began to look into scripture and realize not many people talk about gossip but many people do gossip. I don’t hear a lot of sermons or articles even written, until there’s an issue within the church; then it’s finally brought up.
I realized as I write this blog; I have been very guilty of this sin. I have spoken words about others that have been unnecessary, unkind and sometimes even untrue. I’ve seen too many, including myself who have been victimized, captive to the entanglement of this deadly sin.
What is Gossip?
Gossip is an unnecessary information of negative speech that is spoken apart form the person. If you aren’t part of the problem or the solution, it’s gossip. John Calvin the reformer defined gossip real well,
“It is a sign of a perverse and treacherous disposition, to wound the good name of the another when he has no opportunity to defending himself”
Why do people gossip?
What we say reveals what we believe. We can’t hide it. Fresh water, salt water, and the like a dark, hidden, embedded, implied theology, spoken in whisper and innuendo.
What are the consequences of Gossip?
When we gossip, we betray. We throw each other under the bus of our own ego.Gossip hurts the Body of Christ and it divides, it slanders, it produces strife, it separates friends and it is sin.
I believe all forms of gossip is deadly and detrimental. Individual who is being gossiped are getting their reputation ruined, but not only so but destroys relationships with one another. Unity of the body of Christ is at stake when one participates in gossiping.
When we even look into the nature of the Trinity, when the Father, Son and Holy Spirit speaks of our sins, they don’t gossip. There’s hope and a plan for redemption and restoration. To gossip is to go against the nature of God himself.
It has destroyed church after church and fractured the unity within the church. I’ve personally witnessed church split because of this very issue.
How should we deal with Gossip?
Gossip is one sin that seems to fall in the spiritual “No-Man’s Land” like the awkward uncle around that Thanksgiving table that nobody wants to talk to or deal with; a passivity that many tolerate that widespread and eats us up like a cancer. It seems impossible to deal with it so instead we just kind of shove it under the carpet and pretend the big elephant is not in the room.
Instead of that, we ought to be vigilant and remove this deadly sin that is extremely destructive and vile to our body and avoid it like a plague.
Thomas Watson: Bearing false witness, “There is a negative not to bear false witness, but there is the positive where we must stand for truth and defend the truth. We must stand for our brothers and sisters in Christ when they are being lied” On the front end, we must covenant with one another that because it is not a loving thing we refuse to gossip to others.
1. JUST DON’T DO IT!
“There is so much dirty linen in our own house needing to be washed that none of us need to take in our neighbor’s washing.” – Charles H. Spurgeon.
Gossip should never be taken lightly. It is not just the sharing of information; it is two or more people standing in agreement with the lies of the devil. (James 4:11)
2. GOSSIP IS BAD, AND, DEEP DOWN WE KNOW IT!
Here are few reasons why we know it’s bad.
a) Gossip manifests because of jealousy or insecurity. From competition to covetousness, jealousy can take many forms.
“Unhappy women are given to protecting their sensitiveness by cynical gossip, by whining, by high-church and new-thought religions, or by a fog of vagueness.” – Sinclair Lewis
b) Gossip manifest when we fear and seek to protect or defend ourselves.
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Prov 29:25
Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric. In order to not fear man, but to fear God, Ed Welch in his book called, “When People are Big and God Is Small” reminds us that we should check for pulse in order to love people more.
c) Gossip manifest in complaints. In subtle ways, like grumbling about someone, or other times it is loud, like ranting about someone.
John Wesley the English Anglican clergy and theologian had his approach with gossip;
- That we will not listen or enquire willingly after ill concerning one another;
- If we do hear any ill of each other, we will not believe it;
- That as soon as possible we will communicate what we hear by speaking or writing to the person concerned;
- That until we have done this, we will not write or speak a syllable of it to any other person;
- That neither will we mention it, after we have done this, to any other person;
- That we will not make any exception to any of these rules unless we think ourselves absolutely obliged, and then only in conference.
“So why does the church rarely ever church discipline initiated over sins like gossip?”
It seems hypocritical doesn’t it? If gossip really destroys the church, why don’t we tackle it head on? It seems like a double standard as there are certain sins that a church disciplines such as committing adultery that often leads to church excommunication, however if someone is a persistent gossiper for 20 years in a church, nobody does anything.
That’s a legitimate concern that one ought to seek after. These kind of sins are difficult to perceive so we must pray for our elders of the church to discern and see to help the individual or the body to deal with the sin that is there.
Paul Tripp puts this perspective so well,
“Judgment is easier than mercy. It’s easier to stand apart from somebody and point a finger than it is to patiently walk alongside of them, to love them, to forgive them, to get your hands dirty as you help them bear the burden of change.”
I believe the best way to deal with the sin of gossip if it is done personally is what Spurgeon recommend to do,
“The best way to deal with slander is not to gossip about it. God will either remove it or remove the sting from it. Our own attempts at clearing ourselves are usually failures. We are like the boy who wish to remove the blot from his copy, by his own bundling made it even worst “ – Charles H. Spurgeon
Pray about it child of God. Pray persistently and allow christ to become the defender and the shield of your soul.
“My goal in life, at all times, must be to PLEASE GOD, not myself or others.
Father, help me to consciously seek to please You
in all my thoughts, words, actions, and desires.”