I’ve saved the best for last! Gossip earned the most votes in response to the question: “Which ‘acceptable’ sin of the church bothers you most?” I included this “acceptable” sin in the series for three reasons. First, because it has directly impacted me; I’m an emotionally sensitive person and gossip is particularly hurtful to me. Second, I knew it would be a hot-button topic for a lot of other people. Third, when I hear others being gossiped about I get angry at the injustice of the situation and I get the impulse to confront the gossip…but I almost never do. That’s the most interesting part of this sin: Not the sin itself but our reaction to it.
I’ll bet most of the people reading this blog have been hurt by gossip and are aware that it is expressly prohibited by the Bible. In fact, the Bible speaks very strongly about this sin. Yet how often do we confront someone gossiping? That is the question I want everyone asking today.
1. What does Scripture have to say about gossip?
- The word “gossip” is used 12 times in the NLT translation; it is never used in a positive way
- In Leviticus 19:16 God prohibits gossip and murder in the same breath
- Proverbs tells us:
- Those who gossip pretend to befriend you so that they can collect your secrets
- Gossip will separate the best of friends
- If you listen to gossip, you are a wrongdoer
- Being accused of gossip used to cost you your reputation
- In Romans 1:29 the Apostle Paul equates gossip to, “sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, (and) malicious behavior.” (consider Leviticus 19:16 again)
2. How does the church “accept” gossip?
- I think church organizations handle this pretty well; I have heard some great sermons on gossiping. I don’t think the pulpit is at fault on this one
- However, I suspect that pastors are just as hesitant to confront reliable tithers with this sin as with any other because of the potential negative impact on their bottom line
- Church members really drop the ball on this one, including myself. I’m good at catching myself when I am tempted to start gossiping, but forget about confronting anyone else when they gossip. As I noted above, the Bible equates gossip with murder; why don’t we confront gossips as if someone’s life depended on it? My guess: we’re waiting for permission
- When we let others gossip we become complicit in their sin. As Catholics say, Father forgives us for what we have done and what we have failed to do
3. What can we do about it?
- Pastors: Great job from the pulpit, I give you guys 4 stars on this one. I can only hope you confront gossips who tithe regularly
- Body of Christ: I give you permission to start confronting people who gossip. I don’t care if it’s a ‘nice old lady’ who’s an elder of the church…In fact, if you do hear a seasoned Christian gossiping you ought to lay down the law. They should know better. Scripture is clear: Words have the power to destroy people’s lives. Gossip is the same as murder in God’s eyes, so lets start acting like it
What are your thoughts?