Yesterday morning on my live radio show here in Gaylord, Michigan, I talked about gossip. We tend to erroneously categorize sins today. There are those big sins that should always be avoided and then there are those little sins that we probably should avoid but we tend to see as not a real big deal if we go ahead and do them. Unfortunately, gossip often falls into the latter category. That's too bad. Here's why.
In the book of James we learn about the power of the tongue. It can bless but it can also curse. The tongue is described as a "fire" which can set on fire the course of our life. In other words, the tongue can be very destructive. Gossip is one of the ways this happens. And in our modern culture of instant communication, one word of gossip can literally spread like "wild-fire!"
If that is not enough to show you the danger of gossip, consider this. In the book of Titus Paul warns the church about malicious gossip. The word in the original is also used 34 times in the New Testament as a name for Satan. It is also translated "devil" which means slanderer or false accuser. Did you get that? The same word for "gossip" also means "devil." Is it possible that we could say that you are never more like the devil than when you gossip?
Now let me be really controversial. I didn't share this aspect on my radio show yesterday (I was too chicken!) but it is worth looking at. In the Pastoral Epistles, Paul warns against gossip three times. Notice who he is specifically speaking to when he does. In Titus 2:3 he exhorts "older women" to not be "malicious gossips." In 1 Timothy 3:11 he exhorts "women" to not be "malicious gossips." And then in 1 Timothy 5:11-13 he exhorts "younger widows" to not be "gossips and busybodies."
Did you see a common denominator in those verses? Folks, listen, Paul is not "anti-women." He is writing these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. Certainly Paul is not saying that men never gossip. We do! We shouldn't but we do! But is there something more to the fact that all three of these exhortations are directed toward women? Is it possible that woman struggle with "gossip" more so than men do? I'll stop right there!
Whether you are a man or a woman, let me suggest three questions for you to ask yourself before you ever pass on any negative information about someone else to a third party. Ask yourself these questions first:
Am I 100% confident that the information I am about to share is accurate? If not, don't share it!
Does the person I am about ready to share this information with really need to know? If they don't, don't share it.
Will my sharing this information with this person benefit the person I am talking about? If it won't, don't share it.
Remember, gossip is sin! Remember, gossip is destructive! Remember, gossip is reflective of the very character of Satan!