Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gossip – How Do We Respond To That Which God Hates? Part 2 The Responsibility of the Receiver

This is a continuation of my conversation with “Sally” from last week’s article and the final part of my series on gossip.

Me: Sally, Father has given me an assignment in this situation, too, but it isn’t this family, it is you. He says that the one who speaks negatively about others does so because he/she is so full of him/herself that he/she is without restraint (Proverbs 10:18)! I’m concerned because there are consequences for this, Sally.

“Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure”

“The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment” (Proverbs 10:21)!

Sally: (Tearfully) I can see that I’ve been resistant to do what God desires because of issues in my own heart. I really need to spend some time alone with Him about this.

Me: Sally, do you realize that my response to what you’ve shared is out of love for you and this family? Love is the answer, my friend. While gossip is an outlet for hatred, it is love that covers all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12). Our greatest motivation for not putting others in bad light is our obedience to the Law of Christ – we must love others as we want to be loved (James 4:11).

If I were to participate in gossiping about this family, I would be making an alliance with Satan rather than God, by adding sin to sin (Isaiah 30:1). Instead, gossip is a vile sin which needs to be exposed (Ephesians 5:11). I am unwilling to go to the family which you are referring to because that is your assignment; not mine. Besides, while his/her intentions may be good, even the one who repeats hurtful gossip back to the one being condemned, rather than confronting the slanderer, participates in gossip. The one originally speaking the gossip should be corrected and encouraged to be reconciled with the one whom they are gossiping about.

The most compelling lesson about uncovering sin in someone else's life occurred when a group of puffed-up religious rulers shoved an adulterous woman at the feet of Jesus while he was teaching in the temple courts:

"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, 'Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?' This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:3-7).

Having our own flaws illuminated makes shaming someone else much less appealing. One by one they dropped their rocks and slithered away.

Is our ultimate goal to help restore prodigals into a redemptive relationship with Jesus, or do we have a hidden agenda to elevate ourselves by condemning those around us?


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