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We are continuing the series that we began during the worship period last week entitled Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate.
The goal, once again, of these lessons is to show that even though we may say that no sin is respectable or honorable, there may be times in which we do not show this to be the case in our actions.
There are times in which we may be inconsistent in how we approach sin or times in which we neglect or justify certain sins, especially when they are happening in our lives.
Then we do our weekly duty; we come to church twice per week, and act like everything is alright and deceive ourselves into thinking everything is ok for me spiritually.
So in this series I have chosen some examples of sins that are commonly overlooked.
Last week we looked at the sin of immodesty.
If you missed that lesson, I would encourage you to go back and watch it.
This week we will open up our Bibles and discuss the subjects of Gossip and Slander.
Let’s begin by asking the question: What is Gossip?
The fact is: gossip is hard to define.
One of the things we want to do is to try to put it in a box so we can know how far we can go and not be gossiping, but this obviously is not a right attitude to have.
As I share this lesson today, you may be thinking of a few things or conversations you have had in the past and may ask yourself, “I wonder if this is gossip?”
You may want to ask me or someone else after this lesson if something is gossip, but I would encourage you that if you have to ask someone, it may be something you shouldn’t say.
It is hard to nail this down, but let’s at least look at some definitions so we can try to get a better understanding of what gossip is:
Here is a dictionary definition of the word gossip: gossip is “Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, at times involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
It is idle talk or rumor about the personal or private affairs of others.
The Greek word used for gossip in the New Testament is defined by Strong’s and Vines as “someone who is a whisperer, or someone that is secretly or openly slandering.”
We see in this definition how gossip and slander work together (slander being just the idea of speaking evil of someone, or saying overly negative things about someone.
The same Greek word in the New Testament is used to say slander or blasphemy)
In other words, if we are saying something that is going to lower that person’s opinion of the person you are talking about or is going to prejudice them against that person, you are gossiping and slandering.
If the things you are saying are dishonoring someone or harming someone’s reputation, that is gossip.
Gossip is something that we don’t tend to see it in ourselves.
It is very easy to gossip whenever we are not thinking enough about what we say.
We worship with the body of Christ, and then once we get off to ourselves and start talking about one another, and the discussion turns negative.
Or we get into a discussion at the water cooler at work about politics, and the discussion quickly turns to attacking the president’s character or a certain candidate’s character… Or as we are writing a post on Facebook or sharing an article, we don’t think about whether the things we are typing are showing love or whether or not the article that we are sharing says things about people that may not be true.
Whenever we do such things, we may be gossiping.
We may be sowing discord, and sinning with our tongues, and in doing so, we make our religion worthless, which is what James says in .
If we cannot control our tongues, we are deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are religious people.
Profile of Gossip:
My name is gossip.
I have no respect for justice.
I mame without killing.
I break hearts and ruin lives.
I am cunning and malicious.
The more I am quoted, the more I am believed.
I flourish in every level of society.
My victims are helpless.
They cannot protect themselves from me.
To track me down is impossible.
The harder you try the more elusive I become.
I am nobody’s friend.
Once I tarnish a reputation it is never the same.
I topple governments and wreck marriages.
I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights.
I spurn suspicion and generate grief.
I make innocent people cry in their pillows.
My name is gossip.
Office Gossip, home gossip, shop gossip, telephone gossip, email and social networking gossip, church gossip.
I make headlines and headaches.
I am gossip.
That old adage is a lie that says that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
This is just not true.
Gossip hurts.
The sad part is people that we gossip about don’t even know they are being attacked, and they may not know for weeks, months, or maybe even years.
They have no idea and can’t protect themselves.
And at times our motives for gossip are selfish.
We like to make ourselves look better at other peoples’ expense.
Some misconceptions:
You may have said these things before.
I know I have.
1. “It isn’t gossip if it is true.”
We tend to think that gossip only involves lying and spreading rumors that may not be true.
It includes those, but you can also slander and gossip with the truth.
It may be true that a brother or sister committed adultery a while back, or maybe a brother did lose his job for lying, but if you are trying to pass that information along to lower someone else’s opinion of that person, you are gossiping.
That is slander.
Just because something is true does not mean that you have the right to go and tell everyone the news.
We need to keep that in mind.
2. I didn’t mean to mar that person’s reputation, so I didn’t gossip.
Of course there are times when we say things that we don’t mean to about people that we shouldn’t say, and we don’t mean to hurt someone’s feelings or to hurt someone’s reputation, but that doesn’t make it ok.
Trying to justify ourselves will not work with God.
We will give an account for every idle word.
Brethren, we need to put some effort into making sure we think about the things we say before we say them to make sure that what we say will lift that person up instead of tearing them down.
That takes a lot of effort.
Try to have conversations with a goal of making someone think better of someone than before you talked to them.
If you are going to talk about people, say good things about people behind their backs.
That will be an encouragement if it gets back to the person.
Attacking someone’s character, no matter who they are, is NOT the loving thing to do!
If someone really wants their reputation to be destroyed, let them do it themselves.
You don’t need to do it for them.
3. I don’t want to gossip, I just want to let you know.
Why? Do I really need to know?
Do I need to know that a brother sinned against you or someone else? Do I need to know all of the dirt on my brothers and sisters in Christ?
About a political candidate or the President?
The answer is NO!
We should not be airing people’s dirty laundry like that.
If you know about someone’s sin, who should you go talk to about it?
Not me or another brother.
You go and talk to the person who sinned.
If you tell someone else first just to let them in on the info, you are gossiping.
Husbands and wives, I am sure most of us are guilty of this: usually who is one of the first people we tend to tell when someone frustrates you, angers you, or sins against you?
Your spouse?
That is gossip.
It doesn’t matter who you are sharing the information with.
Our spouses don’t need to hear about all of our grievances with other people.
4. I don’t mean to gossip, I just thought you would be able to help.
Turn to .
This passage is very important in regards to our last point, but it is also important with this one also!
If someone ever comes to you and wants to let you in on some information about someone’s sin or thinks you can really help them in giving them some Biblical wisdom, just share this verse with them so they can know what to do.
"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
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