Google+ 07/16/13 Give Up Gossip!

Proverbs 16:27-29


Scoundrels create trouble;  their words are a destructive blaze.

A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.

Violent people mislead their companions, leading them down a harmful path.


"Hey, did you hear what that guy Jesus did yesterday on the Sabbath?  Don't tell anyone, but He healed someone.  Isn't that terrible?"  Far too many of the conversations I hear as a pastor sound like the statement above, with other names inserted.  As Solomon shares with us, gossip separates the best of friends.  Let's define gossip.  For me, this is simple.  Talking negatively about someone who is not present to a third party is always gossip.  Sometimes, talking positively about someone who is not present is also gossip.  The Bible is clear.  We are not supposed to do this, ever.  Are there really scoundrels, troublemakers, and violent people?  Yes, just like we have enemies, we have all three of these.  Unfortunately, there are people who thrive on creating negative drama.  They destroy God's peace.  All of us know people that never utter an encouraging word.  If they were not allowed to speak unless it was positive, all of their conversation would be "bleeped out" like they do on David Letterman when someone uses inappropriate language for TV.  Notice that Solomon identifies all three types of these people in the same paragraph.  These are not my words, they come directly from one of the most wise men in the Old Testament.  Gossip is usually created by several dangerous emotions which are fueled by Satan.  They are greed, envy, jealousy, anger, and selfishness.  Gossip causes the focus of a conversation to be placed directly on the shoulders of the person planting the seeds of strife.  Rather than working for God's Kingdom and giving Him the glory, these people are time-wasters, derailing everything that is good.  These five emotions are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit and destroy all spiritual gifts in everyone that is exposed to them.  I have a phrase that I use when I address gossip with someone says that they don't.  I tell them that "they were listening too loud!"  I hope everyone gets my point.  How do we stop gossip?  We walk away from it and give it no credence.  Please operate on the premise that if you heard it from someone else, it is not true.  Any note, comment, or criticism I receive that has no name attached, is immediately dismissed.  The Bible says if there is conflict, we must first address it with the person who has the conflict with us.  If a comment is anonymous, I can't be Biblical, so I ignore it.  Those people are troublemakers and are planting seeds of strife.  Finally, to make matters worse, most gossip is also, in some way, a lie.  This just creates strife that many times is not repairable.  We are all called to forgive when someone is genuine in their apology, and desires to immediately and consistently repent and turn away from their sin.  The problem is that forgetting, as humans, often takes a great deal of time.  If during the "forgetting" process the sinful behavior is once again repeated, the "remembering" process takes over and we are back at "square one," usually four times worse.  Guard against Satan making you a scoundrel, troublemaker, or violent person.  Think long and hard before you gossip or listen to someone creating gossip.  As a pastor, please believe me when I tell you that regardless of who you confide in with gossip, it will get back to the original person in living color.  It will hurt everyone.  It will destroy God's gifts to us.  This is one of those times that being a pastor means writing about "tough love."  Hear me when I say we must all immediately, "Give Up Gossip!"