Summary: A sermon on how we can overcome and conquer the sin of gossip.
"The Dangerous Digit"
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher.
When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, "AMEN, BROTHER! "When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, "PREACH IT, REVEREND!"
And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, "RIGHT ON, BROTHER! TELL IT LIKE IT IS... AMEN!"
But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet. One turned to the other and said, "He's quit preaching and now he's meddlin'."
Intro: There are many warnings in the Bible about the how lethal and dangerous the tongue can be. Someone has well said that: "The world's most dangerous animal has its den right behind the teeth!" I want us to examine just one aspect of the behavior of this dangerous digit! Matt Mitchell, a local church pastor and author has written a book entitled "Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue." This is a topic about which I care deeply because every pastor/preacher and his family sooner or later will be the target of gossip. I'd like to share some thoughts with you in a message on the subject of "The Dangerous Digit"
How many of you would want to be known as a gossip? So, you don't want to gossip, right? If you're like me, you don't want to fall into a pattern of sinful gossip because you know how hurtful and harmful it can be and how much God hates it. But it's not always that easy to resist, is it? The Bible says, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." Proverbs 18:8, 26:22. The English translation doesn't do justice to the word "...wounds..." It should be translated "dainties" or "choice morsels"--those little bits of food that are hard to say "No" to and, once swallowed, have a lasting effect on our hearts. One of the chief reasons why it's hard to resist gossip is that we often can't see any alternatives. I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard someone say, "But if we didn't gossip, we wouldn't have anything to talk about!" Of course, that is not true. But it often feels as if it is. Everybody around us is doing it. Talking about others behind their back is fun and exciting. Gossip is juicy and attractive, and it just doesn't feel like we have a lot of options. I believe that that are some alternatives to gossip and I want to suggest some good ones. Here are five:
I. Be Silent
As the saying goes, "If you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all." Silence can be golden. Proverbs 17:27 says, "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
Abraham Lincoln put it this way: "It is better to keep your mouth shut and let them think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." This rule of thumb goes not just for face-to-face talking but also for texting, messaging, emailing and every other kind of communication through which gossip could flow.
Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
ILL - Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation one preacher said, "Our people come to us and pour out their hearts, confess sins and needs. Let's do the same. Confession is good for the soul." In due time all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to the movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn't confess. The others pressed him saying, "Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?" Finally he answered, "It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here."