If It Is True, Is It Still Gossip?

“A gossip betrays a confidence,
but he who is trustworthy keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13).
“A perverse man spreads strife,
and a gossip separates intimate friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
“He who conceals an offense promotes love,
but he who repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9).
“Do not go about spreading slander among your people” (Leviticus 19:16).
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters … nor slanders .. will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10).
Clearly, if gossip can include betraying a confidence, then to share a tidbit of truth about someone which is harmful is indeed gossip! While slander can involve creating or repeating lies, it is not limited to this. Slander and gossip also involve destroying another person through our words, whether what is shared is true or not.
Although that burning feeling of the fleshly nature to pass on a juicy insider scoop can seem overpowering, it involves selling out God’s purposes in order to destroy and serve the evil one. Whether it be a blunt, “Did you know that …” or a self-justifying, “I don’t want to gossip, but …” the Lord treats gossip with teeth. Gossiping is placed right alongside of sexual immorality, idolatry, and theft. Those who embody these characteristics will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The life of love, which Paul calls the disciple of Jesus to imitate, involves a rejection of the sinful fleshly impulses of gossiping./1 The Christian, having cast off being driven by ungodly desires, puts on a new attitude shaping his or her behavior. Words become tools for pointing people to the Lord and building them up, not tearing them down. The motivation promoting Self through “look what I know” is replaced with seeking the wellbeing of others.
Accordingly, God’s people are to be very careful regarding how they live so as to use their time wisely in serving the Lord’s will. We are to seek promoting God’s will in this world, not embody the will of the evil one.
Can we purify ourselves from whatever contaminates so that the Lord can use us to promote his purposes? Paul believed it was possible./2
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1/ Ephesians 4:25-5:4
2/ 2 Timothy 2:21

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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