Friday, October 17, 2008

Gossip is a ruthless killer of honest reputations

Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongueof the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

As two people were exchanging in a juicy tidbit of gossip one said, "Tell me more!"

"I can't. I've already told you more than I know."

A psychology teacher used to stage an unusual occurrence such as a fake shooting on the first day of class-with the details carefully rehearsed. He would then pass out a paper with questions about s what happened for his students to answer. He found that 90 percent of the answers to what actually happened were wrong.

The experiment shows how imperfectly we hear and see especially when our emotions are involved. Nevertheless people are often ready to pass along little tidbits of misinformation.

Gossip is a destructive force that divides people and provokes petty jealousy, envy, hatred and intolerance. It can destroy the reputation of a helpless individual. Like an avalanche it picks up all kinds of debris along the way and ends up unrecognizable from its original form. Rumor is just another word for gossip and so is tattling.

God considered gossip to be such a serious matter that it’s one of the TOP 10 sins, "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 100% certain the facts are correct, you are bearing false witness against them.

Suppose that the scandalous story about someone you know is actually true. Why speak ill of a person even if it’s true? Gossip is never justified and only brings harm.

Most gossip in the church is disguised as good. It can be hidden in a prayer request or in a desire to help a backslidden brother or sister. Sometimes, when we hear someone speak ill of another brother or sister, our first instinct is to let the victim of the gossip know. However, if you don’t pass on the gossip there is nowhere for it to go.

“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20 (NIV)

If you do pass the gossip along, it will sound worse when you repeat it and it probably won’t help the offended party. It’s probably best to ignore it or encourage the potty mouth to speak directly to the other person. Remember, in gossip as in robbery, the receiver is as guilty as the thief!

The Bible says, “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 (NIV)

Your words are a clue to your character. Your reputation and Christian witness is on the line so always look for the best in each person. Bless what you can bless, thank who you can thank and encourage what is right. Make a daily habit of emphasizing the good instead of the bad in others, not only to their faces, but to others with whom you engage in conversation.

You will win more friendships and develop greater peace of mind. A word of encouragement is all that may be needed to prevent a failure.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Proverbs 25:11( NASB)

There are three questions that ought to be a guide to your speech.


If that is not enough, then remember the words of Jesus, “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every word they utter; for by your words, you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:3 (KJV)

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