Summary: Today we are going tolook at qualities that literally destroy relationships.

INTRO: The story is told of a young man during the Middle Ages who went to a monk, saying, "I’ve sinned by telling slanderous statements about someone. What should I do now?" The monk replied, "Put a feather on every doorstep in town." The young man did it. Then he returned to the monk, wondering if there was anything else that he should do. The monk said, "Go back and pick up all the feathers." The young man replied, "That’s impossible! By now the wind will have blown them all over town!" Said the monk, "So has your slanderous word become impossible to retrieve."

Today we are going to begin a series of messages on what not to do, "Relationship Busters".

-We’ve looked at how to build healthy relationships, now we’re turning the table a bit and looking at qualities that literally destroy relationships.

-Stay away from these bad boys.

TITLE: Relationship Busters

TEXT: Proverbs 16:28b

I. Definition of a gossip.

A. Webster – a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others, chatty talk.

1.A gossip is one who repeats idle talk or rumors about others. Gossip need not be, but often is, malicious.

2.In the biblical setting it’s the idea of spreading secrets or rumors, usually for the purpose of injuring someone’s character.

-Literally, it refers to a whisper

B. My opinion of gossip: It’s one of the greatest tools used by the enemy of our souls to get a foothold into our lives.

1.In Ephesians 4:27, Paul is writing to Christians and he’s warning them to watch out for this "and do not give the devil a foothold."

2.It can be so simple. You’ve heard the saying, Christians don’t gossip, they just share prayer requests.

Example. In my life I had the opportunity to watch how the enemy got a foothold into a prayer group and the destruction that took place. It started off with a noble purpose, the group wanted to pray for missionaries. They’d take prayer requests and pray for the people, but as time went by it slowly turned into a gossip session. More time was spent talking about individuals than actually praying for them.

Over time differences grew with the leadership of the church and eventually the prayer group turned from praying for people to being a command center for the devil to destroy the church.

The end result was the Lord removed them from the church and the group disbanded. God only knows the damage that was done, and it began so subtly with folks sharing a need or a problem.

Thought: The difference between a gossip and a concerned friend is like the difference between a butcher and a surgeon. Both cut the meat, but for different reasons.

II. What does gossiping do?

A.Look at the text today. It can separate close friends—not just friends but close friends, best buddies.

1. Scripture seems to indicate that close friends can even be closer than blood (brothers, sisters).

-Imagine, gossiping has the power to destroy and conquer that special relationship. Gossiping literally divides and conquers friendships.

a. Think of it this way—when I gossip I’m literally opening the lid on Pandora’s Box and letting out who knows what untold evil that will affect my life or my family’s.

B.Other scripture about the effects of gossiping.

1. Proverbs 26:20, "Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down."

-The author gives a word picture. When you don’t put wood on a fire, it goes out!

-A gossip keeps a quarrel alive, keeps it going just like wood to a fire.

Question: Who wants to live in an atmosphere of fighting and quarreling? Or who wants to work in an environment of quarreling and strife?

-No one. We need to be careful about when comes out of our mouths.

2.Proverbs 6:19, "A false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."

-Do you realize of the 7 deadly sins that the Lord hates 3 of them can easily be tied to gossiping.

3.Proverbs 11:13a, "A gossip betrays a confidence."

-If you walk the path of gossiping you will betray a confidence.

-You may not intend to, but you will because you’re so used to letting your tongue loose.

4."The tongue,"says James 3:6, "also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

-The tongue is the most difficult member of the body to control. In fact, the idea James is bringing is if you have the ability to control your tongue and not sin you have the ability to be perfect.

a. James gives us a few pictures of what the tongue is like.

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