Monday November 8, 2004
The Character of Gossip
Gossip is not a popular subject, but it is a popular activity. Many people spend a great deal of time participating in idle talk about someone else, usually with the intention of injuring the individual in some way. Often believers are just as guilty of gossiping as unbelievers. But God insists that we view it differently.
Scripture lists the practice of gossip in a couple of odious categories. In Romans 1:29-30, Paul places it in the midst of interrelated sins like deceit, malice, slander, and arrogance - gossip is deceiving and defamatory, and it is accompanied by both cruelty and pride. These are all characteristics of "haters of God," according to the apostle. Second Timothy 3:1-3 is another list of evils that Paul cautions Timothy to recognize; there, gossip is right in the middle. And of course, the list everyone recognizes is the Ten Commandments, whose last decree is, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16).
Gossip does not fit who we are as believers. Just as you cannot have poison and pure water pouring from the same stream, you cannot have both gossip and God-honoring talk coming from a believer. When evil departs from our lips, it is indicative of what we harbor in our heart. But God is in the heart-cleaning business. When we falter - allowing gossip and its cohorts malice and deceit into our lives - we should pray as David did: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).
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