by Melody Green
I think that the main reason why God makes me share this problem with you is that gossip itself is not alien to me. Not only have I heard gossip… but I have also been a gossip spreader and also a victim of gossip… and let me tell you that all three of these aspects are equally painful and bitter to God.
For example, when I told people things I shouldn't share, I often tried to justify myself with the following words: "We really have to pray for who you are, he (they) have this terrible problem." But usually, very often it happens that we do not pray, but discuss at length and extensively on the topic. Then, of course, it gives us great pleasure to hear the latest "news" about someone. I often tried to justify myself by thinking, "Well, it's good to know exactly what's going on, and I need to have good information to know how to pray," which of course I could hardly do afterwards. (In fact, if I had spent as much time on my knees talking to God as I did talking to my friends on the couch, I would probably have been a real woman by God's will by now!)
The moment I began to realize this problem was at the beginning of our ministry, when we started our church. I realized that with so many new acquaintances and close relationships and friendships, we were becoming an incubator that would start hatching and spreading gossip and infecting everyone who took part in them. I began to think deeply and look for an answer in God's word, and I also gave some compelling Bible lessons to the women's group. But God had not yet fully opened my eyes until the moment when I and our ministry were threatened with destruction due to some rumors and exaggerations, and this deeply hurt me. I was so confused! I began to feel real bitterness and wondered how it was possible for people to say such things. However, I think I was more hurt by the fact that people listened and accepted the information as a confirmed fact. I prayed to God to stop them! And it didn't take long for Jesus to take action, and what happened: He showed me sin. Guess whose? Mine! He reminded me of how many seeds of poison I had sown in the body of Christ, and in this way I had damaged many reputations. At the time, I didn't think it was harmful to anyone, but now I saw things from a completely different perspective. Jesus let me experience for myself how people feel and that was awful! He also pointed out to me that He is most sorrowful when His children are so unloving to one another.
To say that I have completely overcome this sin through this experience would not be true. I am tested daily and often fail, but I can honestly say that there is a big difference in my life now, and that Jesus is faithful to finish the work He started in me.
What is gossip
When we become Christians, we renounce "gross sins" such as lying, stealing, drinking, cheating, drugs, adultery. We begin to spend more and more time with our new friends, talking about God, our lives, and so on. which happens around us at all. Harmless things… or just think so. Let's take a closer look. Very often these conversations are filled with condemnation, rumors heard or unheard… and all this is well packaged behind the facade of a worried Christian smile.
Did you know that the Word of God speaks of gossip? This is not just a "small sin," as some believe. The Word tells us, "Thou shalt not go about as a fool among my people" (Lev. 19:16). The Apostle Paul also says, "And they are accustomed to be idle, to go from house to house, and not only to be idle, but also talkative, to meddle in other people's business, and to speak things that should not be spoken." 1 Timothy 5:13). In Ps. 101: 5 God says, "Whoever slanders his neighbor, I will destroy him." God means that those who gossip do not honor Him and are betrayed to a perverted mind. He places gossipers alongside those who are unreliable, unloving, unjust, filled with envy, driving, deception, murderers, and hating God. He then says that those who practice these things are worthy of death, but that does not stop them from continuing to participate in it and encouraging others to take part. (Rom. 1: 28-32) These are heavy verses, and I shrink at the thought of their fulfillment.
Well, if it's true
By the way, something doesn't have to be a lie to gossip. Many of us think, "Okay, that's true… so I can share it with whoever I want!" But it's not! To tell the truth with wrong motives is often more harmful than to tell a lie. In fact, here's a definition of gossip that I find very accurate: "Gossip is sharing something about someone when, however, what is shared is not about solving the problem of the person concerned."
"And if your brother sins against you, go, show his guilt between you and him in private. If I listen to you, you have won your brother. ”(Matt. 18:15) I think the reason God put this in the Bible is because He knows how weak we are and how great our need for sound guidance is. .
If we are offended or see that someone is in sin, then we must go to that person and to no one else! Let me give you a few examples: when someone has sinned, what is the use of going and sharing it with someone else? What would others think of this? If we go back and forth and talk left and right about this "terrible thing" we've seen in someone's life and ask if "others see it," we are causing people to form a judgmental opinion after all. to stumble. Instead, let us try to restore this brother or sister back to fellowship with God. This can be done by pointing out their omission or sin that God insists on dealing with. But if he (she) does not listen, then other steps must be taken. Be prepared for them, although very often you don't get there.
Believe me, the moments of my most intense spiritual growth were when someone came to me with true love and pointed out to me anxiously the mistakes they had seen in my behavior. I am grateful for those individuals who loved me enough to have the courage to reveal this to me and give me the opportunity to correct myself. “Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in a transgression, ye that are spiritual, correct him with a meek spirit; but I say to everyone, "Keep yourselves, lest you also be tempted." (Gal. 6: 1)
To take upon ourselves the insult of another
Sharing our personal insults or bitterness, and listening to others share their own, is another area in which we need to be very careful. If, for example, someone treated a close friend rudely and he came and complained, then you would probably take his insult. This means that you are also offended and will probably be angry with the person who offended your friend. You will probably find out later, you will be all simple and forgetful, but there may be a residual bitterness left. And the next time you meet the person in question who has offended your friend, you will probably find that you have not forgiven him. Therefore, if you do not go immediately and deal with this problem, you will continue to carry in your heart a bitterness that will always come to the surface when the name of this person is mentioned. The quarrels that such a case can cause can involve many people and be long-lasting, and it depends on how many people have taken part in it by listening. That is why it is not good to share even with your friends the resentment and insults that have affected you, because in this way you will involve them and expand the problem.
The difference between advice and gossip
Many of the gossip and gossip go under the guise of "consulting." There is nothing wrong with being advised if you are really talking to a counselor. This is a person who is mature in the Lord, who will encourage you in good works, will seek to reconcile you, will point out your sin and will help you solve the problem, but also, he would not tell this to anyone else. and he himself would not stumble. The counselor is a person who seeks God's will first and foremost, not his own or yours. Such a person in most cases has a leading role in the church or in a group. I am afraid that this will exclude 95% of the people with whom we would first run out to seek advice on our current problem. But in most cases, when we share something with someone, we are not looking for a solution; we are simply looking for a sympathetic ear that agrees with our point of view. Very often we do not realize how we ourselves are causing splits by trying to attract people to "our country". We are often too selfish to worry about the harm we do when we tell people about someone: “Six things the Lord hates, even seven are abominations to His soul: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart. which creates bad ideas, legs that run swiftly to do evil, an unfaithful witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren ”(Proverbs 6: 16-19).
Many of us want to think that "listening" to gossip isn't really as bad as spreading it. God says, "The wicked hear the lips of the wicked, and the liar giveth ear to the evil tongue" (Proverbs 17: 4). In 1 Samuel 24: 9, David says to Saul, "Why do you listen to the words of people who say, 'Behold, David wants your evil?' Why are we so inclined to believe the worst? The Bible tells us, "Love keepeth all things, believes in all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" (1 Cor. 13: 7). which I should not hear. It is better to bring this before God or before those who are directly affected… but do not involve me in this. "
A few such words of exhortation will stop the gossip in its infancy; at least they will make these people think well. The Bible warns us to stay away from gossip: "The fool walks around and reveals secrets, so do not associate with one who opens his lips wide." (Proverbs 20:19)
A sign of maturity
"And I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36).
With every word we say, we make a choice. We either choose to bless God or grieve Him by rebelling against His word: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to edifying as it is necessary, to bring grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Very often we do not take to heart God's command to keep our tongues. To keep our tongue from evil is the mark of the true maturity of a child of God: "If any man think himself godly, and restrain not his tongue, but deceive his heart, his godliness is vain" (James 1:26).
We all know that "the heart is deceitful above all things" (Jer. 17: 9), so it is easy to justify our behavior, but just look at the price.
Gossip and gossip are tools of Satan. He knows very well that if he can separate us and make us fight against each other, we will be busy enough to organize and fight against him together. It would be good if, even now, we pause for a moment, think well, and decide in our hearts not to utter gossip and not to listen to such gossip. We can do this through God's grace and decision to make the right choice.
Let's pray for that. Maybe there are people we need to repent to, and maybe we have bitterness and an unforgivable spirit in our hearts that we need to confess in order to be forgiven. Let us go before God and fix our hearts before Him. He will give us the strength to achieve the rest.
** translated with Google Translate**