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Gabby Gruesome Gossip

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  James 3:5-8

As the picture above indicates the finely dressed women engaged in gossip don't seem to realize their pursuit is much more sinister than any in the room realize. Although the word gossip does not appear in scripture, this practice is described in the Bible by the terms such as backbiting, evil speaking and slander, and by actions such as being a busybody, a talebearer, and a tattler. GOD's people must guard themselves vigilantly against these sins. Gossip is extraordinarily destructive. Gossip can easily devastate the lives of people that surround us.  Gossip can destroy ministries, ruin the effectiveness of pastors and teachers and can demolish an entire church or community as easily as any bulldozer might.

It is very important, though, not to confuse gossip with legitimate endeavors.  It is not wrong to share truthful things with those who have a right or responsibility to hear to such information.

For example, it was not gossip for the household of Chloe to tell Paul about the problems in the church at Corinth.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 1 Corinthians 1:10-11

As the founder of that church, Paul had a right to know about those problems. It is not talebearing to talk to a pastor about matters in others lives that they should know about. It is not talebearing to talk to a father or mother about matters affecting their children.   It is not wrong for a Christian to warn another person about a serious problem in a church or organization, so long as the information is true and the motive is not to hurt but to help and warn.  Before any discussion is initiated however it is prudent to discern whether the scripture below has been prayerfully considered.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Philippians 2:3

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.  Matthew 7:3-5

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13

Speaking the truth in love is not gossip, but speaking is not always necessary.  When in doubt.just be quiet.

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 1 Thessalonians 4:11

It is not wrong to test any teaching by the Scriptures. In fact, we have a responsibility before GOD to do that.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  Acts 17:11

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Pastors and those that teach have much authority, but they are not to be followed blindly. Their authority is the Word of GOD, and if they veer from that they have no authority whatsoever and should be corrected.

Admonishing one another is not gossip.  We have an obligation to admonish one another to serve the Lord.

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.  Romans 15:14

This involves watching over one another and exhorting one another about things that would hinder our walk with Christ.

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:13

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25

Many things are not has been seen above.  However, many things are most definitely gossip.  Gossip can be separated into four main categories, talebearing, backbiting, slander and being a busybody.

Gossip is talebearing, which involves talking to others about intimate details of other peoples lives for injurious purposes.

Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.  Leviticus 19:16

A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.  Proverbs 11:13

The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  Proverbs 18:8

He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.  Proverbs 20:19

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  Proverbs 26:20-22

Gossip is backbiting. Backbiting is as harmful and long lasting as physical wounds.  Backbiting speaks words of death to another.

LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?  Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.  Psalm 15:1-3

Gossip is slander, which is stating things about people that are false with the intent to harm them. For something to be slanderous, it must involve deceit and falsehood and an injurious motive.

And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.  Numbers 14:36-37

He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.  Proverbs 10:18

Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.  Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.  Jeremiah 9:4-6

Gossip is being a busybody, which is defined as meddling into the affairs of others when there is no legitimate reason to be involved.  Those people who are considered  as busybodies are easily spotted and are usually in the center of the action, flitting from one situation to the next, seeking out a tidbit of information they can use to spread to others. They'll talk to just about anyone, pretending to care or be genuinely interested in what is being said to them, when all the while, their minds are racing ahead to the first person to whom they can repeat their conversation. Gossips are only in it for themselves and the perverted pleasure it brings them to tear others down.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  2 Thessalonians 3:11

And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 1 Timothy 5:13

God considers gossip to be such a serious matter that He included the avoidance of it as one of the Ten Commandments. "Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." When you repeat something you heard from someone else, or share a story where you're not completely certain the facts are correct, or even share information about another person that will only bring them harm and not good, you are bearing false witness against them. Since the second greatest commandment is "Love your neighbor as yourself," you would be breaking that one as well by gossiping. Would you gossip about yourself to others? If not, then why commit that act against your neighbor?

Be blessed and meditate or meditate and be blessed, the choice is yours!
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