Summary: Gossip is a destroyer that must be stopped. Our words ought to build up, not destroy.
Did You Hear About . . .
Griffith Baptist Church – 4/13/08
Text: Matthew 15:10-20
Key verse: Matthew 15:18 - But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher.
When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, "AMEN, BROTHER!"When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, "PREACH IT, REVEREND!"
And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, "RIGHT ON, BROTHER! TELL IT LIKE IT IS... AMEN!"
But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet. One turned to the other and said, "He’s quit preaching and now he’s meddlin’."
Gossip is among the vilest of sins - Romans 1:29-30 – 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, (see also Prov. 6:12-14; 8:13)
Gossip destroys relationships – Proverbs 16:28 – A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
Gossip and strife go hand in hand – Proverbs 26:20 – Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Other words in Scripture used for a gossip – whisperer, backbiter, smiter, slanderer, perverted mouth, false lips, naughty tongue, talebearing, flattering mouth, busybodies, and tattlers.
Transition Statement: In order for us to have an understanding of the biblical concept of gossip, we need to look closely at the character of gossip
1. The Character of Gossip
A. The Appeal of Gossip
i. It is broad in the type of people it involves
a. 2 Thessalonians 3:11 – For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
b. Whoever will listen
c. Whoever will agree
ii. It appeals to our baser sinful nature
a. It is the act of a person living in the flesh
b. It is the attitude of a person filled with pride - To speak ill of others is only a round about way of bragging about yourself.
iii. It allows us to ignore our own sin issues
a. Our life is better when somebody else’s isn’t
b. It reveals something about us - Many years ago the Moody Church News carried a humorous story about a woman in a small town who was know for being a gossip. One day on vacation she visited the offices of The Chicago Daily News. She was wearing a white dress and inadvertently leaned against a wall where a freshly printed copy of the front page was hanging. It was a hot, humid day, and some of the print came off on the back of her white dress.
Later, as she walked down the street to meet her husband, she noticed that people walking behind her were snickering. When she reached the place where her husband was waiting, she asked him if there was anything on her back that shouldn’t be there. As she turned around, he read the large black reversed letters: sweN ylaiD. Realizing the appropriateness of the words, he said, “No, dear, nothing’s on your back that doesn’t belong there.” Our Daily Bread, June 23, 1994
c. It is a cover-up of a heart problem
B. The Subtlety of Gossip
i. Disguised as a spiritual concern - 1 Timothy 5:13 – And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
a. Faking spirituality by acting concerned
b. Sharing those “prayer requests” - Proverbs 11:13 – A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
c. We love to have everyone notice how “caring” we are.
ii. Getting a problem off your chest
a. Denotes an unclean heart (text)
b. Frustration can lead to sharing things with the wrong people
c. Instead of taking it to God we find solace in talking about others to others
iii. Gossip is like a poison snake in the grass; before you have a chance to see it for what it is, it will reach up and strike you.
C. The Nature of Gossip
i. It is aggressive
a. It can’t wait to tell somebody
b. It spreads quickly and destroys along the way all that it touches
ii. It is secretive – under cover of dark; covert
a. It is like the Piranha. They prefer darkness and the darker it is, the better. In fact, if you place Piranha in a fish aquarium in odd numbers, they will attack and eat the odd one