Monday, May 7, 2012

The Dangers of Gossiping: Are We Talking Too Much? The Simple Truth.

Disclaimer: The following is a fictitious scene that takes place on a Friday afternoon in a coffee shop, in a city near you.
Becky: “Oh my goodness! Did you hear what happened to Josh and Marisa?”
Lynn: “What do you mean? Are they getting a divorce? Girl, tell me the whole scoop.”
Becky: “I overheard this morning at the hair salon that Josh is cheating on Marisa. You know, he’s been shady for a while now…the so called bishop. Bishop my foot! I have more anointing in my toenail than he has in his whole body.”
Lynn: “You know what? I did hear that. I saw him meeting with some young girl in the parking lot of IKEA and she looked a hot mess.”
Becky: “Yeah…ole cheater. And Marisa’s getting a divorce. I saw it for myself. I passed her going into the district court. She didn’t see me though. Good for her!”
Jennifer: “Hey ladies. Sorry I’m late for our coffee break. I’ve been helping the Martin’s with their new business. They are opening up a new business and Josh had to meet their daughter at IKEA to get the office supplies. Well, I had to take Marisa to the district court so that they can register the business. God is so good. I’m so happy for them. So what y’all chatting about?”
(Both Becky and Lynn look at each other in shock.)

Haven’t we all been there? On the receiving end of some juicy gossip that has nothing to do with nothing, a possible misunderstanding perhaps. If we are honest with ourselves and honest with the Lord, we all have partaken in having loose lips, both on the giving and receiving end of gossip. Let us be honest with one another…gossip hurts! And once its poison has filled a space, it is difficult to retrieve back the words that have been spoken. But there remains a question that should be asked: Why do we gossip in the first place? What is the purpose for gossiping? 

Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (ESV)

The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines gossip as the following: “a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; a rumor or report of an intimate nature; a chatty talk.” This definition is being placed here, not to condemn anyone but so that we will know the truth. (Reference: John 8:32; Ephesians 4:15). This definition refers to someone who makes it a habit of telling the personal business of others…and unfortunately we all know those who easily fit into this category all too well. We all need to be reminded of what gossip is and why it is dangerous. 

So let’s tackle the questions I posed earlier: Why do we gossip in the first place and what is the purpose for gossiping? Let us look at the last question first. The purpose of gossip is to: defame the character of another, to tear down someone, to make someone look unfavorable, to cast doubt on someone, and to also make the gossiper look as if he or she has some inside information that perhaps no one else has…in other words to glorify self. Lastly, why do we gossip? I believe the best response I can provide comes from James 3: 5-10 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (ESV).

Here is the Simple Truth: “2 Corinthians 12: 20-21 “For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.” (ESV)   My fellow sisters in the faith, let gossip not be named amongst us as children of the Most High God. Let us repent for speaking ill and gossiping about others. May our speech be seasoned with only communication that glorifies our Father in Heaven.  Please listen to the words of Paul as he writes “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11: 1 (ESV).  Lastly, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21 (KJV)

In Him, our only Hope: Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. We humbly ask for Your forgiveness for those times when we used our lips to speak ill of others, to gossip about others, to hear gossip about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Father God, we ask for Your forgiveness. Help us to be the Light that shines bright for all the world to see. May we live to give You glory in our lives and in our speech. In Jesus Christ Name we pray. Amen.