Tuesday, August 19, 2008
GOSSIP AND THE DAMAGE IT CAUSES
James 3:4-6 Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. (NAS)
Do we ever care about the ripping effect Gossip has? The damage that can be caused by gossip can damage a person's life forever. There is an old saying "If you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all" How true are these words? The tongue as the verse above says, "it is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell." Our tongue can cause pain for another when we use it to gossip about another. William Penn said,"Never report what may hurt another unless it be greater hurt to conceal it." It can be a damaging weapon. If what you have to say about someone is just to hurt that person, DON'T say it, but if you feel that if not reported someone will be hurt by it, if not reported, then of course reveal it.
The Hebrew word translated “gossip” in the Old Testament is defined as one who reveals secrets going about as a talebearer or scandal-monger. This is one who has gotten out of people secrets about themselves and their families, and then goes about telling his tales from house to house, to the great detriment of those whose secrets he is entrusted with, as well as to those to whom he tells them, as well as to his own. Gossip is distinguished from sharing information by its intent. The gossip-monger has as his goal building himself up by making others look bad and by exalting his superior knowledge of others.
"They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:29b-32). We see from this passage how serious the sin of gossip is and that it characterizes those who are under God’s wrath.
Women like to gossip, but as the years go on I realize men do just as much. We all struggle in this area. What drives me crazy is when Folks will say "Let's pray for so and so" and then go in deep detail about that person's situation...details that do not need to be shared...this is "GOSSIPING" as far as I am concerned.
"A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man [or woman] who talks too much" (Proverbs 20:19).
( From "Got a Question?")
"A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret" (Proverbs 11:12-13).
The Bible tells us that "a perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends" (Proverbs 16:28). Many a friendship has been ruined over a misunderstanding that started with gossip. Those who engage in this behavior do nothing but stir up trouble and cause anger and bitterness, not to mention hurt, among friends. Sadly, some people thrive on this and look for opportunities to destroy others. And when such people are confronted, they deny the allegations and answer with excuses and rationalizations. Rather than admit wrong, they blame someone or something else, or attempt to make it sound like the sin committed isn't so bad. "A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts" (Proverbs 18:7-8).
Those who guard their mouths and tongues keep themselves from calamity (Proverbs 21:23). So we must guard our tongues and refrain from the sinful act of gossip. If we surrender our natural desires to the Lord, He will help us to remain righteous. God rewards the just and the righteous, so we should all strive to remain as such.
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Prov. 26:20 Next time someone starts to gossip. put out the fire before it starts and walk away, it could be you next, that person will gossip about. "Who gossips to you, will gossip of you."