1. This is the time of year when many of us are making/breaking new year's resolutions!
a. Lose weight.
b. Read Bible through .... read each day.
c. Become more involved in life/ministry of the church.
2. Another resolution which many of us need to make (seldom made this time of year) is one relating to our tongues (James 3:5; 1 Pt. 3:10).
a. This A.M. we want to talk about the problem of GOSSIP.
1) Gossip is a problem in many congregations.
2) Gossip is a problem here!
b. Gossip is a problem because everybody loves to gossip! (Prov. 18:8)
1) NATIONAL ENQUIRER .... largest circ. of any paper in America!
2) Oprah's weight loss ... Chaz & Di ... Liz' marriages = sells!
3) Illust . In two doctor's off. this past week. Many magazines. FIELD & STREAM, READERS' DIGEST stayed on racks. The issues of PEOPLE MAG. were the ones being read. They were the most worn.
c. Maybe you feel this sort of "gossip" is harmless (maybe it is);
1) Gossip much more dangerous when it involves those you & I know.
2) Gossip can destroy the life of a congregation!
3. The Bible has a lot to say about GOSSIP ..... and it's all bad!
a. What is Gossip?
b. Why do we do it?
c. How can we stop it?
I. WHAT IS GOSSIP ?
A. Some definitions:
1. Random House College Dictionary : "Idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others."
a. I think most of us know what we're talking about!
b. Talk about a person (true or not) showing them in a bad light.
2. The NT has two interesting words regarding this sin of the tongue:
a. KATALALEO ("slander"--James 4:11; 1 Pt. 2:1; 2:12; 3:16).
b. PSITHURISTAS ("gossip"; KJV--"whisperers"; cf. 2 Cor. 12:20).
c. Illust . Only diff. between GOSSIP & SLANDER is one of degrees. Basically same sin. Suppose you wanted to kill someone. Take a machine gun, walk up & "blow them away." That's slander. OR take a rifle w/ scope, attach a silencer and kill them from long-distance. Never know what hits them. That's gossip.
3. We don't take the sin of Gossip as seriously as we need to.
a. We laugh it off by saying:
1) "I guess I have a little problem with gossip."
2) "I suppose I am a rather critical person, but who isn't?"
b. These are sins that will damn us to Hell! (Rom. 1:28-32).
B. Only way to avoid sin of GOSSIP & SLANDER--obey positive NT teaching:
1. Eph. 4:29-32.
2. Phil. 4:8.
3. Matt. 18:15.
C. Sometimes Christian love necessitates a discreet conversation about someone's personal affairs.
1. We are "members of OA" and a bro./sis. sin is our business!
2. Even then must check our motives ..... may just be a busybody!
II. WHY DO WE GOSSIP ?
A. PRIDE (3 John 9-10).
1. If you view others as competition, gossip discredits your opponent.
2. Easier to tear others down than to build self up.
3. Another aspect ...... pride of being thought as one "in the know."
B. IDLENESS (1 Tim. 5:11-13; 2 Thess. 3:11).
1. "Idleness is the devil's workshop."
2. Being busy doing the things we should lessens chance of gossip.
III. PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FOR OVERCOMING GOSSIP .
A. If you can't say something good, say nothing (Rom. 12:10).