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).
B. Keep confidential matters confidential (Prov. 11:13; 25:9-10).
C. Watch out for PLACES and SITUATIONS where gossip ususally takes place .
1. With close friends.
2. At family dinner table.
3. Small, unstructured Bible studies.
4. With a group after church in a home or local restaurant.
D. Do not allow gossip to go unchallenged .
1. Most of us are afraid of offending the gossiper.
a. Constructive approach--"Now, how can we help this person?"
b. Subtle approach--Smile and say, "May I quote you on that?"
c. Matt. 18:15 approach--"Have you gone to this person privately?"
d. Concerned approach--"If ___ knew we were talking about them in this way they'd be real hurt!"
2. When subtle approaches fail, the gossiper MUST be confronted.
E. When talking of others always ask yourself, "Am I gossiping ?"
1. Are we talking about ways we can help this person?
2. As I mention this person am I lifting them up or tearing them down?
3. Would I be comfortable if this person were to walk in on our conversation? Would I stop talking?
4. After talking about this person can we now pray for this person?
1. The Lord didn't place other people on the earth for our entertainment, but for our love.
2. May God help us to be more sensitive to and avoid the sin of GOSSIP and SLANDER.