Who, me?#10. “A Gossip?”

Who, me?#10. “A Gossip?”

Be careful that the information that someone is pouring out in “confidence” isn’t already known by others; you might be branded a gossip. Such was the experience of one preacher who spent many heart-breaking hours consoling a man over “personal and confidential” matters. He was later accused by the man of breaking confidence and the relationship never recovered. The real source of the “gossip” turned out to be the man himself. His friends had simply noticed the changes in his behaviour and, putting two and two together, started talking about what they saw.

Everyone is hurt by gossip. It can cost reputation, time, money, heartache, friends, and worst of all, souls. It’s sometimes fixable, sometimes not!

If facts are the meat and potatoes of life, then gossip is dessert:
“A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being” (Proverbs 18:8).

Later in Proverbs, the writer could just as easily have inserted ‘gossip’ for ‘booze’ when he said that it “goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper” (Proverbs 23:31-32).

Unless on the receiving end, gossip is often counted amongst the low-octane sins; harmless for the most part. But scripture is never so glib. In Romans chapter one gossipers appear in the ignominious company of “slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, and those disobedient to parents” (Romans 1:29-30).

We must become disciplined when sharing information. Some things are best left unsaid, while others are put under intense scrutiny before being uttered.

If our message isn’t moving someone closer to heaven, it is likely to be moving someone closer to hell. And that is millstone territory!

We can’t clear the world, or even the church, of all gossip, but we can stop its spread:
“Without wood, a fire goes out.
Without gossip, arguments stop”
(Proverbs 26:20).

John Staiger

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