Conviction is a nasty and beautiful thing isn’t it? More often than not, conviction comes in small pieces for me… one word in a conversation, scripture that seems to randomly come across my path, something that I teach to my sixth grade small group. These tiny pieces of conviction add up to be one big thing and I’m suddenly aware of the message God is sending me. Once I notice it’s presence, it screams to be noticed, churned, worked, and, in this case, written. Because I am convicted with the same things that you are, because that’s how the Holy Spirit works… He aligns our paths and our hearts.
Lately, I’ve ben convicted of something that I have been guilty of since childhood. Something that I could be considered a professional at. Something that has blended in so seamlessly into our culture it is hard to forget that it is not Christ-like.
Even the definition states that it is part of our culture. Gossip is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. CASUAL! There are entire magazines and TV networks dedicated to this. We’ve become de-sensitized. We are all participants and partakers.
Do I want to be known as a gossip? As unreliable? As untrustworthy?
Do I want these things said about me?
What if the person/people I am talking about are sitting right in front of me, would I still being running my mouth?
At its core, gossip is not Christ-like. Plain and simple. Gossip hinders our pursuit to be imitators of Christ.
Gossip does not reflect poorly on the people we are talking about. It only makes us look like fools.
The source of gossip is pride. It is saying that I consider myself and my needs for affirmation, for approval, are more important than someone else’s respect and dignity. We are so afraid of rejection that we are willing to reject someone else in the worst way possible: behind his or her back.
When we gossip, we strip people of their story and worth… the only thing that keeps them steady. We strip people of the chance to tell their story. Gossip takes away someone’s voice.
Gossip will eat away at your credibility and make room for bitterness, resentment and criticism to take root.
We all know what it feels like… to be the subject of someone else’s gossip. You suddenly feel like you’ve lost the chance to defend yourself. You lose the chance tell your story, to set it straight.
Let’s take a second to consider the ramifications of gossip on out faith.
If we truly believe that our lives have been changed, that Jesus died and rose again so that we may live in freedom, then why would we continue to waste that freedom filling our mouths and our friends’ ears with negativity? Why would we abuse our freedom and use our valuable and precious voices for such thing?
Imagine if we used our voices for harmony, praise, kindness, peace instead of as a weapon….
I can write these things until my fingers fall off, but until my words are backed up with scripture, they are useless.
So what does the living, breathing Word of God say about gossip?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. (Proverbs 16:28)
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. (Proverbs 11:13)
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)
If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind 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. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (James 3:3-12)
Bottom line: Gossip pulls us away from Jesus.
I can write a thousand posts about this, and you can read it and agree. We can pray and pray that God would heal our critical spirits, that we would be able to tame our tongues, but if we keep gossiping, we’ll keep gossiping. It’s going to take conviction, it’s going to take humility and building value in everyone, regardless of our opinion of them. It’s going to take an attitude shift and healing of the heart.
Gossip starts in our hearts as pride and comes our of our mouth as poison. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Matthew 12:34
Let’s join together and stand for something different, stand for value and humility and peace. Let’s watch our mouths.