"Let there be no gossip"
I recently saw another church's bulletin where the sermon title that week was called "Gossip." Immediately following was the hymn "I Love to Tell the Story." While that hymn concerns telling the story of the gospel, all too often God's people love to tell someone else's story. I think that, along with pride, gossip is the most widely tolerated and most destructive sin in the church.
We tolerate gossip because we've all been guilty of it. It's so very easy to condemn people for sins you've never committed, but it's not so easy to face up to sin which you have done and have encouraged others to do by listening to their gossip. So, we tend to shrug it off. Or we spiritualize it: "I just wanted to let you know so that you could pray." But we need to own up to gossip as a serious sin that can destroy people.
So, what is gossip? Webster's dictionary defines gossip as either "a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts," or as "rumor or report of an intimate nature." One of the biblical words used means "a whisperer" (Rom. 1:30, 2 Cor. 12:20)
I'm just going to be blunt and say sharing information which damages another person's reputation with those who have no need to know is WRONG! It may be completely factual but its not our place to share, judge or use it to hurt someone. More often, the facts become distorted and then the information does no one any good. The Hebrew word most often
translated "slander" means to give an evil report about someone. The Greek word means to speak against someone. James says that if we do that, we make ourselves the judge of both our brother and God's law, usurping God's rightful place (James 4:11,12).
I'm reminded of a verse my grandma told me long ago from Proverbs 12:18 - "There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." With all that being said would it not be better to build someone up and not tear them down? Would it not be better to fill our lives with meaningful work? Should we not examine our motives and rethink the information?
It's never easy because sometimes it sneaks up on us. But often gossip will test your spirit before you patiently meditate on that information and realize its not yours to share! If we want to develop and protect loving relationships in this church, we've got to deal with gossip. So, let's deal with it by sharing the story of Jesus and spread love and peace to one another.
With love and gratitude, may your days be filled with joy and abundant blessings,