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I’m not trying to gossip, but …

May 17, 2013

When a story starts with, “I’m not trying to gossip, but…” we know we are in for some juicy gossip. It is inevitable. We will hear the story after how Suzy did this or did not do that. Or maybe that Bill lost his job, but he does not want anyone to know. You see the gossiping tabloids at the grocery checkout lines. You hear the gossiping in the halls of the church. Each of us is guilty, at some point, of gossiping.

Gossiping is very damaging. It can ruin your credibility as a trustworthy person and as a Christian. People share intimate details of life and personal issues with people they trust. Gossiping breaks that trust. If people trust you enough to tell you these things, be the end of the gossip chain. People who are not Christians watch the actions of believers. After all, we set forth a public image of living a different life, so they are trying to see if we measure up to the standard we proclaim. When you gossip, you become a stumbling block to others.

Gossiping is spoken against strongly in Scripture:

1 Timothy 5:13 – Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. (ESV)

2 Corinthians 12:20 – For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish – that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. (ESV)

Romans 1:29-31 – They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (ESV)

In reality, this is more common than we would like to admit. Everyone at some time or another is gossiping. Many times it is covered in a disguise: “Pray for Brother Sam because his wife is running around on him. But don’t tell anyone because he is embarrassed, but I know he needs prayer.” A gossiping rumor disguised in a prayer request. Well meaning? Maybe, but it is not ours to determine. A word in confidence is to be kept in confidence unless it disclosed immediate danger to that person or others.

The tongue is a beast which likes to run wild. James says, “For every king of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7-8, ESV) We each are guilty to some extent or another of gossiping. We must be aware of the difficulty of the task of reigning in our tongue. When we hear ourselves start with those fateful words, “I’m not trying to gossip, but…” we need to become alert of ourselves and stop. If we hear our friends or coworker start a sentence like that, we need to stop them and let them know we do not want to hear anymore.

Let us all make a conscious effort, using the power of the Holy Spirit, to stop gossiping. Tame the beast of gossip and build trust today!

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