HOW GOSSIP AND SLANDER ARE DESTROYING THE BODY OF CHRIST
2 Thes. 3:11 Indeed, we hear that some among you are disorderly [that they are passing their lives in idleness, neglectful of duty], being busy with other people's affairs instead of their own and doing no work. (Amplified)
1. We are ALL guilty of this to one degree or another. It has become a bad habit and an ongoing problem.
2. If we tended to our own lives and worked diligently to allow Jesus to purge us of our impurities, we would not seek to remove the speck from our brother's eye.
1 Tim. 5:13 And at the same time they also learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house, and not only idle, but tattlers, and those who pry into the private affairs of others, speaking the things which they ought not to speak. (Wuest's Expanded)
1. Idleness is a learned behavior. It is not genetic. God has called us to be active in His service to others. When you spend your time in idleness you are becoming self-serving and a meddler.
2. Gadding about from house to house has been in large part replaced in our day by the use of the telephone. Are your phone calls to encourage someone, or to gossip about someone? Are your calls to share, or bear a burden, or to speak of another's weakness?
3. Do you pry into the affairs of others? I am not referring to pressing someone for an honest answer, or expressing concern when you see a brother or sister who is in obvious pain. No, I am speaking of confidential information that has been cleverly extracted from either the suffering party, or from someone who knows the details of their situation, and then speaking those things to others when you ought not do so.
1 Peter 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or any sort of criminal; or as a mischief-maker (a meddler) in the affairs of others [infringing on their rights]. (Amplified)
1. A mischief-maker is one who meddles in other people's business. We are all guilty of this at one time or more (oftentimes more). Usually this is done to exalt one's self by degrading the other person's reputation. Sometimes demons influence our “curiosity” to know the details so we can be informed. We justify it by saying we are only concerned about their situation, but rarely, if ever do we become a positive part of the solution. Sometimes petty jealousies, or past hurts, cause us to meddle into someone else’s life so we can "warn" others what problems this person has.
2. God says it is INFRINGING ON THEIR RIGHTS!! God is right, we are wrong. We must do unto others, as we would want them to do unto us. If there are past hurts, or unresolved conflicts with someone, don't meddle in their business, but be reconciled to them. This can be done by direct contact, or with the aid of a mediator. Remember: each believer has the right to a protected private life.
Leviticus 19:16 You shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among your people, nor shall you [secure yourself by false testimony or by silence and] endanger the life of your neighbor. I am the LORD. (Amplified)
Gossip creates scandals in people's lives, whether it's through a false testimony or by silence (i.e. being the recipient of the gossip and being unwilling to reprove and/or rebuke the gossiper). Silence can also imply be unwilling to speak the entire truth, or to mingle half‑truths with deceit to further self‑serving means.
When you do this you endanger the life of your neighbor. You open them up to criticism (unwarranted) by others. This leads to them being alienated by other members of the body of Christ. They no longer feel loved and accepted and have to endure the silent distance experienced by those whose opinions of them have been lowered through gossip and slander. Sometimes these people even become suicidal because they feel unwanted and unloved and they don't know why.
Prov 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. (NIV)
1. This point cannot be emphasized enough. Many people, both Christian and non-Christian, have been betrayed by someone that they have shared with in confidence. This causes people to shut up their heart to ever sharing in confidence with someone again. Not only this, but it is THE DEEPEST EMOTIONAL WOUND one can suffer at the hands of a close friend. It is often excused or justified by the guilty party when they become a talebearer. They say, "John shared something extremely confidential, and absolutely no one is to know about this. I'm only telling you because I know how trustworthy you are and I know you won't share it with anyone else." What deception! Just think about it. If a person has so little integrity that they would allow you to betray a confidence they'll most likely follow suit.
2. A trustworthy man (or woman) KEEPS A SECRET! This takes commitment! If you feel you cannot honor that commitment, then don't allow the secret to be shared with you in the first place. If, however, someone shares something with you that has the potential of harming others, or the person themselves, then inform them that you must take the information to a source where they can get help (e.g. a counselor, elder etc.)
Proverbs 17:9 He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends. (Amplified)
1. When someone offends you, the godly approach is to go to them, confront the matter in a tender, loving, yet direct manner, then forgive them and cover the matter by refusing to allow the knowledge of it to be spread about.
2. Those who feel hurt, or misunderstood by someone, and then repeat the matter to another can destroy even the closest friendships. This is especially true when they "harp" on a matter by going into great detail about the way that they were mistreated by someone else. Always go to the person who has offended you, not someone else. If after attempting reconciliation, and the other party refuses, then go to another believer. This should only be done so that the two of you can re-approach the offending party in love to bring about healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. The information shared must have a specific purpose: to build-up and strengthen the body of Christ.
· Prov 16:28 A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends. (NAS)
Proverbs 18:8 The words of a whisperer or talebearer are as dainty morsels; they go down into the innermost parts of the body. (Amplified)
1. What is being said here is that the one who listens to gossip is as guilty as the gossiper. It is tempting to hear about someone else's life and problems. It's like having a banquet table filled with chocolate truffles, prime rib, baked potato with butter and sour cream and all manner of succulent morsels. There it is, free for the taking, eat all you like. Just remember that all those choice morsels have tons of calories and they'll stick with you and make you really obvious to others. This is what gossip does when you take it in to yourself. It becomes a part of you that you cannot easily rid yourself of.
2. Refuse to listen to gossip, even if it's from your husband, wife, best friend or prayer partner. When someone begins to gossip about someone else, ask them this question, "Have you discussed this problem with Barry before talking to me about it?" Or you could say, "Do you need my help in approaching Julia about the information you are sharing with me?" These, and similar responses to gossip will put the one who is gossiping in an embarrassing position and will discourage their ungodly behavior around you in the future.
Proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much. (N.I.V.)
1. Simple advice: Avoid a person that's got a big mouth and constantly talks about others.
2. Remember that the Scripture warns, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals”. (I Corinthians 15:33)
Romans 16:17‑18 I appeal to you, brethren, to be on guard concerning those who create dissensions and difficulties and cause divisions, in opposition to the doctrine (the teaching) which you have been taught. [I warn you to turn aside from them, to] avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites and base desires, and by ingratiating and flattering speech they beguile the hearts of the unsuspecting and simple minded [people]. (Amplified)
1. These verses apply to gossips, as well as others that attempt to create dissension among the brethren, particularly when they assemble together. These are selfish individuals who have not learned the heart of a servant. They have not denied themselves, taken up their cross and followed after Christ.
2. Flattery is one of their primary tactics to suck someone into their beguiling speech. Everyone loves to be flattered and complimented, but when this draws you into a conversation with someone whose speech will create divisions and dissension amongst the family of God, you need to avoid them at all costs. God says to turn away from and AVOID such people. It is not rude to avoid them; it is a command from the Almighty to do so. They are behaving like the devil.
James 1:26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue, but deludes his own heart, this person's religious service is worthless (futile, barren). (Amplified)
1. You can go to church services regularly, read your Bible faithfully, pray daily, give to the poor, etc., hut if you are a continual gossip, all of your service to God is worthless, futile, and barren.
2 Corinthians 12:20 For I am fearful that somehow or other I may come and find you not as I desire to find you, and that you may find me too not as you want to find me – that perhaps there may be factions (quarreling), jealousy, temper (wrath, intrigues, rivalry, divided loyalties, selfishness, whispering, gossip, arrogance (self-assertion), and disorder among you.
The early church was by no means perfect, and as King Solomon said "...there is nothing new under the sun." (Eccl. 1:9) Fallen humanity has experienced this kind of behavior ever since Adam's transgression, and will continue to do so. Without conscious choices and a continual guard on our tongues, we will fall repeatedly into the destructive lifestyle of gossip and slander.
We are living in the last days, as is evidenced by the fulfillment of numerous prophecies. God set in motion a plan to redeem mankind through the atoning work of the cross. But the plan doesn't stop at the cross, for in each church age He has sought to bring a people that was called by His name to a place of completion, based on the light of revelation they had received from His Word in their era. As we near the Second Coming of Christ and the catching away of those saints who are watching and praying prior to the Great Tribulation, God is unveiling a plan by which His last day Bride can be wed to Him. This plan includes a process of purification of all the filth of the flesh and spirit. All of the stains and blemishes must be removed from the garment of His bride, and this can only happen as the true saints allow God to knit them together as ONE, even as Jesus and His Father are one. But, how can we be made one while we destroy one another with gossip and slander?
Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the Lord hates; indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that manufactures wicked thought and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren. (Amplified)
LET'S MAKE A DECISION TO DESTROY GOSSIP AND SLANDER AND PROVIDE A PLACE OF SAFETY AND REFUGE FOR ALL WHO COME INTO THE PRESENCE OF OUR FELLOWSHIP. THANK YOU, AND MAY GOD GIVE US THE GRACE TO FULFILL HIS WORD.