The SIN of Gossip and Tale bearing.
A member of First Baptist Church in Some Where United States, was driving through town when she saw her pastor and another man, arm in arm, coming down the stairway of a local bar. Suddenly, the pastor stumbled down the steps. Her first thoughts where, "my pastor has been drinking and he's so intoxicated that he fell down the stairs of the local bar room." She's well aware of the high calling of pastor's and the high standards that God sets for men that are preaching and teaching God's word. She becomes so enraged about the pastor's sin of drunkenness that she begins to call around to other members in the church saying "Do you know what I just saw our pastor doing?"
Within a day, many of the members of the church have developed a bad attitude toward the pastor and are giving him the cold shoulder, but he doesn't know why. Then he starts to ask people what's going on, and one of the deacons pulls him aside and says, "brother, you're sin has been found out!" "What sin", the pastor exclaims! The deacon replies, "Now don't go denying that you were drunk yesterday, sister So and So saw you stumble down the stairs of the local bar."
Biblically, what's wrong with this story so far?
Some basic biblical principles have been ignored! In the first place, the church member, Mrs. So and So, assumed that her pastor was involved in evil. She was not loving her brother in Christ at this point according to 1 Cor. 13.
The Christian who gossips doesn't really care about others, especially the ones they're gossiping about. They really care more about themselves. They just want to have juicy information to attract others to themselves. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:3, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4, Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
Paul also said in Romans15:2, "Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification." Only words of edification, building up should come out of your mouth as Paul also teaches in Ephesians 4:29, " Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."
Only Good words!
Only Encouraging words!
NO tearing down words!
If you're a gossiper, would you want other people gossiping about you? Do you want others telling things that are not true, or completely true? Do you want your sins publicized by others? I'm sure you're saying, NO! You see, none of us would want someone else to be gossiping about ourselves. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Wow! That means if I don't want people gossiping about me, I shouldn't do it either!
The second biblical principle that Mrs. So and So ignored was that of going "ALONE" to the brother who has offended you.
All right, so you see a brother or sister in Christ sin! Now what? If it's that big of an issue, you should GO! What's so hard to understand about GO! Yes, go to them "ALONE" and tell them their sin / fault. That's the first stage of Matthew 18. If they hear you and stop sinning, the talk about that person's sin ENDS - PERIOD! It's only when they will not stop sinning in that area that you tell "one or two more" with the intention of going to the brother in sin WITH those two witnesses. This is the Biblical way to confront a person in sin. Gossiping about someone's sin is really hypocritical, because you're sinning yourself by gossiping. So if someone's sin really bothers you - Go to them!
The third biblical principle that was ignored was that of "taking the log out of your own eye FIRST."
The person who gossips about the problems of others hasn't looked into their own heart. God hates gossip, but the Devil loves gossip! Who should you be lining yourself up with? Yes, of course - God. If you really want to say something to a sinning brother, deal with your own life first. Recognize your own faults first, then go.
Let's continue our Story about the pastor and the lady who gossiped about him and then we'll learn some more basic biblical principles about the Christian's speech.
As the story continues the pastor finally back tracks the gossip to the Mrs. So and so who saw him stumble down the stairs at a local bar. She admits to the pastor that she indeed did start the gossip. Then the pastor explains the "REAL" story.
The Pastor said, "A man, that I recently led to Christ, was an alcoholic, and for months he's been staying away from drinking. However, at a recent wedding a friend encourage him to "JUST HAVE ONE LITTLE DRINK" and they told him "he'd be fine". Well, that's all it took for him to fall back into his old ways. I had gone into the bar ONLY to plead with him to leave with me, in order to help him deal with his drinking problem. As I was trying to hold him up while we were going down the stairs, I tripped and stumbled. That's what you saw! I was trying to help a struggling brother in Christ."
Well, at this point Mrs. So and So felt really bad about what she had done. She asked for forgiveness and promised to go back and tell those she gossiped to "the Real Story." The pastor did forgive her, but he wanted to teach her just how damaging gossiping can be. So he asked her to follow him and some of the deacons up into the steeple of the church. When they reached the belfry, the pastor took out a feather pillow and cut it open, releasing the downy feathers into the breeze and they all watched as the feathers floated all around town. He then looked at Mrs. So and So and said, "I'd like you to go and retrieve all those feathers now, and don't fail to bring back every single one of them."
Mrs. So and So said, "It's not possible! I could never retreive every last feather! "That's right," said the pastor! "Those feathers are just like gossip you released into our community. You can try to take some of the false accusations back, but there will always be some doubt, some false thoughts floating around out there because of gossip. I hope you can see how damaging gossip is!"
Mrs. So and So had learned her lesson the hard way, at the expense of her pastor's reputation. Gossip and other sins of the tongue are extremely damaging to the church and to those within the Body of Christ. Let's look to God's Word to understand HOW we should deal with gossipers and HOW we should control our speech.
James is not saying that this man is sinless, but rather that he is spiritually mature. The spiritually mature believer has control of his/her tongue. It does not control them, they control it.
James says that a mature believer can control the tongue. So what does he mean in v. 5-8?
One little match can burn down a whole forest. One little tongue can cause so much destruction. James is illustrating for us how destructive the uncontrolled tongue can be. Gossip and Slander is SO damaging within relationships. The person who gossips really does not care about others. In fact, the gossiper is prideful, wanting to have juicy information to share in order to get others to listen to them. People caught up in the sin of Gossip need to understand that James says that the tongue is "a world of iniquity."
What does he mean by that? The word world is "cosmos". This means - world system or worldly system. The tongue is often at the center of iniquity, at the center of sinfulness in this world system.
How was man tempted in the Garden? By the serpents speech, and the lies and deceptions. These lies and deceptions continue to this day. Satan said things about God that were not true: Gen. 3:1 "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Satan was causing doubt about the character of God. Often gossip causes others to doubt the character of the one being gossiped about. Satan went on to say in Gen. 3:4... "You will not surely die." Essentially, Satan was calling God a liar. Satan was speaking things that were not true. Gossip may begin as fact (even though those facts should not be passed around for gossip's sake). However, after a while, those facts become distorted as the story goes from one person to the next. Gossip ends up spreading lies about someone. Gossip is injurious speech. It aims to tear down someone in the sight of others.
These are strong terms that James uses.
Can't tame it - Who can't? unsaved man, man without God's help, or the Christian walking in the Flesh.
an unruly evil - uncontrollable like a fire fed by the wind.
full of deadly poison - like a poisonous snake's bite. Our mouths can destroy: lives, testimonies, ministries, etc.
This is why Christians should # 1, avoid gossiping themselves and # 2, don't receive gossip from others. If you do anyone of these, you're part of the process of tearing down someone's life.
Let's look at some passages and discuss what we need to avoid and what we need to do concerning our speech.
No faithfulness - no truth, nothing you can trust.
Inward wickedness will eventually come to the surface through the mouth.
Their throat is like a tomb filled with rotting flesh, only what stinks and what is putrid comes forth.
No Christian should have the characteristics of the wicked tongue. But sadly, some do. Christians need to realize just how much God hates the sins of the tongue:
Lying is listed among the most vile of sins. Gossip can be a form of lying and God HATES it. Christian, if you struggle with Gossip - repent of this sin.
A word to those that listen to gossip:
Proverbs 17:4, A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
If someone comes to you with gossip - Don't listen! If they blurt something out about others, tell them that they need to GO and talk with the person that they seem to be offended by. Tell them you'll give them a few days or a week to reconcile with this brother or sister in Christ, and that you'll be checking up on their progress of reconciling with the person they're gossiping about. This method will normally stop people from coming to you with gossip.
Proverbs 10:19 says, "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise."
Plain and simply, the person who's always JUST TALKING TO TALK, will eventually fall into many sins of the tongue.
The word "keep" in the Hebrew has the sense of watching and guarding. You've heard the expression, "Watch your tongue." That's exactly what we must do. Guard what comes out. God has given us two lips and two sets of teeth to guard our speech. Don't be involved in the Devil's business of destroying the testimonies of the Saints. Do speak the truth in love, Only to the one that you're concerned about. If you've struggled with Gossip it's time to repent and develop godly speech patterns that build others up.
Return to Main page
Return to Christian Teen Corner