Thursday, November 10, 2011

It Isn’t Gossip If It’s True! Or Is It?

When addressing someone who is gossiping, a classic response is, “I’m not gossiping. It’s true!” This common misconception calls for a clear understanding of what “gossip” truly means. Gossip is defined as “Idle, or malicious talk about others.”

Gossip exists whenever we talk about others
in less than a favorable way.

Its antonym, “slander” means “malicious talk; to spread damaging information; to defame; to speak ill of.” “Devil” comes from the Greek word "diabollos" which means a slanderer, or accuser, and directly refers to Satan. Speaking critically about another is functioning as a cohort to the “slanderer/accuser” (Rev. 12:10)!

Do we not realize that it is an evil spirit of pride
which broadcasts negative “news” about others?
It is a self-righteous hypocrite who speaks words of destruction.

Such talk affects not only our relationship with others, but more importantly with Father! Jesus tells this story:

“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer to himself: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income."

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).

Notice that the prayers of the self-righteous Pharisee were ultimately to himself. Father will not even listen to such perversion!

We must realize that arrogant, boastful, slanderous gossips are in the same league as murderers and those practicing other depraved behaviors! According to Romans 1:28-32, although we may know God’s righteous decrees, those who do such things deserve death and will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken (Matthew 12:36)!

Do you ever wonder if the one who is gossiping to you also gossips about you? It’s foolish to think that they don’t! On the other hand, if a person shares words of love and kindness about others, we can believe that they have a trustworthy heart! “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Prov. 11:13).

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).

Gossip often masquerades as “concern” for others,
but any person who is genuinely concerned,
will follow God’s Word (Mathew 18:15-20)
and will privately and lovingly address the person
at the source to express his/her concern.

It is “a perverse man (who) stirs up dissension, and a gossip (who) separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28)! I’m convinced that as children of the Most High God, His Spirit prompts us when we are or another person is gossiping. Any hint of disrespect will set off an alarm indicating that the information being shared could tarnish the character, name or reputation of another person!

Gossip is a seething disease of corruption and is used to verbally abuse those whom we are called to love, encourage and forgive! “With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor” (Proverbs 11:9)! No wonder it is equal to murder in Father’s eyes!

How do we break the damaging cycle of gossip? I’ll address that next week.


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