Summary: In this sermon, we explore what the Bible says about gossip and slander and discuss how to keep them out of our lives.
A. Today, we are continuing in our series called: “Speak Life – Speaking Words that Heal, not Hurt.
1. The Bible tells us that words have the power of life and death.
a. Words have the power for much good or much evil.
2. God’s desire is for all of us to learn how to control our tongues so that our words bring life.
3. Last week, we explored the truth about lying, and I hope we all have accepted the challenge of living and speaking truthfully.
4. Today, we want to explore what we might call “malignant talk” – using our tongues to spread gossip and slander.
B. One day a woman visited her friend.
1. While they were together, the friend’s five-year-old son pulled out his kindergarten class picture and began introducing his classmates.
a. “This is Robert; he hits everyone.”
b. “This is Stephen; he never listens to the teacher.”
c. “This is Sally; she is very grumpy and calls people names.”
d. Then, he pointed to himself, and said, “And this is me; I’m just sitting there minding my own business.”
2. Isn’t it amazing how effortlessly words of gossip and slander escape our lips?
3. It might seem funny coming from a 5 year-old, but it is far from innocent fun.
C. What is it about gossip and slander that is so alluring to us?
1. Not too long ago, the TV show “60 Minutes” tried to answer that question.
a. They sent a news team to report on the remarkable sale of the cheap grocery store tabloids.
b. They began interviewing people who were purchasing a tabloid at the checkout counter.
c. The reporter asked one buyer, “Do you really believe what you read in this paper?”
d. The buyer answered, “No, but I like to read it anyway.”
2. Listen to some of this week’s headlines in the National Enquirer.
a. Donald Trump’s Tax Returns Exposed – How much the candidate is worth and how much the IRS took!
b. Faith Hill Walks Out after finding Tim’s Secret Love Child!
c. Explosive Showdown in Court – Jen dragged into Brangelina divorce.
d. Bill Clinton Love Child Rocks Hillary’s Campaign
e. Hugh Hefner Trapped in Playboy House of Horrors
f. Pop Diva Adele’s Awesome Restaurant Meltdown
g. Janet Jackson’s Ex Begs to See His Secret Child
h. Dolly Parton: 70 Years of Secrets and Scandals
i. Denzel Washington Strangles Aretha Franklin – Plea deal in bizarre court case!
3. What is it about that stuff that draws people in? We will try to answer that question in a minute.
D. Once a frantic mother wrote to Ann Landers, the advice columnist, asking what to do about a rumor being spread that her 16 year-old daughter was pregnant.
1. The mother wondered if perhaps she should transfer her daughter to another high school.
2. Landers suggested that she shouldn’t switch schools; instead, she should let time prove the rumor to be false.
3. It sounded like good advice, but sadly, in reality, when she didn’t show signs of the pregnancy, the rumor changed to “she had had an abortion.”
4. Once rumors begin, it’s tough to win!
E. Rumors, whether true or false, are devastating for many reasons – one of them being that they are irretrievable.
1. The story is told of a young man during the Middle Ages who confessed to a monk that he had sinned by telling slanderous statements about someone, and wondered what he should do.
a. The monk told him to go throughout the town and put a feather on every door step, and then return to the monk when he had completed that task.
b. The young man did as he was told and returned to the monk.
c. The monk then told him to go back through the town and pick up all the feathers.
d. The young man replied, “That’s impossible! By now the wind will have blown them all over town!”
e. The monk then concluded, “So has your slanderous word become impossible to retrieve.”
2. Joseph Stowell writes: “Rumors are the vehicles that turn life into a demolition derby, and gossip and slander are the tracks on which they travel. The tracks of gossip and slander are paved with careless, idle chatter as well as the malicious, intentional sharing of bad reports. From where does the fuel for this demolition derby come? Malicious speech comes from the central source of all sin – the promotion of self.” (pgs. 35-36)
I. What Draws Us to Gossip and Slander?
A. First, there is the lure of curiosity.
1. Some of us look for and listen to “news” just because of our natural curiosity.
2. Just like with all things, Satan can use something that God created for good, like curiosity, and twist it for sinful purposes.