Summary: Recognizing and ridding ourselves from the deadly sin of gossip.
A. Gossip is a destructive mode of conversation practiced daily.
1. It affects the least to the greatest among us.
2. It is commonplace in the world as it is the church of our Lord.
3. The Bible, because of this, speaks of it and so must we.
B. While the practice is condemned many do not like admitting to committing this sin:
1. It reveals – to an otherwise blameless person – that this sin must be dealt with.
2. Those often guilty of this sin see it in others, but not in themselves.
3. Further, it is not until we (or someone close to us) are personally harmed by gossip’s venom do we see the urgency of this problem.
C. For this reason we shall look at this subject matter:
1. What consists of the realm of gossip.
2. The ugly ramifications associated with it.
3. Things we must do to stop or rid it from our lives.
I. Gossip – From vain to Slandering Speech
A. The word gossip has a broad usage of English terms.
1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; rumor or report of an intimate nature; a chatty talk.
2. Synonymous or similar words associated closely with gossip: tale bearing, backbiting, busybodies, tattler, whisperer.
3. The Bible uses various terms that is translated as gossip (NASB):
a. Tattler (phluaros): babbling; idle talk; of things foolish or vain. 1 Tim. 5:13
b. Whispering/whisperer (psithurismos/psithuristes): secret slandering. (note: does “psst” come from this?). 2 Cor. 12:20
c. Malicious gossips (diabolos): this word is translated as devil or as false accuser or slanderer.
1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 2:3 (cp. Gen. 3:1-5)
B. Because of this broad usage many do not realize they may be guilty of gossiping.
1. Some maliciously spread false rumors or partial truths to destroy the good reputation of another.
2. Others are more subtle…without the intention of hurting another:
a. Some exercise limited or no control of their tongue and spread personal information about others that serve no profit…and guilty of gossip.
b. Some relay information that is incomplete or faulty about others… and guilty of gossip.
II. The Ugliness of Gossip
A. Before looking at how destructive and ugly the ramifications to gossip can be, note the source of gossip’s danger: the tongue (via the heart). Jas. 3:8-18
1. The tongue is the tool that spreads destruction (even slanderous) information about another person.
2. The tongue, however, is a reflection of an untrained or malicious heart.
3. Thus, the person who spreads gossip is either a fool or malicious. Prov. 10:18
B. Ugly ramifications that result from gossip:
1. A good reputation cut down, maybe ruined from the eyes of others (possibly many others).
2. Separation among friends. Prov. 16:28
3. It leads to cliques, which in turn, bring about destructive divisions brought within the church.
C. The destructiveness brought on the person guilty of gossip.
1. A lack of trust.
2. Revealing of a sinful character.
3. The wise will not associate (intimately) with this type of person. Prov. 20:19
III. Ways To Rid Ourselves From Gossip
A. Be guided by love for the person speaking and spoken about. 1 Cor. 13:4ff
1. Toward the person speaking:
a. If possible, ask what benefit (for all involved) would be gained by receiving such information.
b. If possible slander is spoken, suggest that this person speak directly to the person spoken about.
2. Toward the person spoken about:
a. Judge not, you only have information from one person (and, it may not be accurate).
b. Pray about the information you received, that you can be a vessel of honor to act in a worthy manner.
c. Keep the information from spreading further.
B. Take steps to avoid or stop gossip. 2 Tim. 2:16
1. Firmly tell the messenger you do not want to hear gossip. Be prepared for the relationship to change.
2. Guard your own mouth. Prov. 13:3
3. If you’ve received information about another that is harmful, pray to God about the information just received. Then do something about the information, rather than pass it on to another!
4. If someone is guilty of some wrong doing, don’t talk about him, go to him. Matt. 18:15
5. Do not associate yourself with people who gossip. Prov. 20:19
A. It takes humility, prayer, and dependency upon God and His wisdom to admit to and be rid of the sin of gossip.
B. May God bless your efforts in living according to His good will.