Gossip

by Stan Mitchell

As we all know, the church’s most spiritual members gossip about their brethren. If a man continually berates the church, its leadership, its efforts, that proves that he is a dedicated Christian.

And while we’re at it, everyone knows that a gossip is always very concerned about checking the facts before he speaks, and cares deeply for the well-being of those about whom he speaks.

Oh, and one more thing: I was once an NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers and won an Oscar for the movie I was in.

The truth is that words are far more potent than we give them credit. Words build and give life — or maim, injure and take life. When our words leave our mouths (or our pens, or when we hit “send”) they have a life all their own.

Solomon calls a gossip a person who “lacks sense.” Yet we frequently treat him as if he is full of godly wisdom.

“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Proverbs 11:12,13, ESV).

We speak our harsh words flippantly, even casually, yet do not think that like a burning match, tossed carelessly out of a car window, we might cause a forest fire.

“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers him” (Proverbs 12:6).

Please allow me to be forthright: a gossip is neither wise nor insightful, still less loving. He is hard on others, inspires no one to live better, and has harmed God’s people over and over again.

The Christian is called upon to develop his ability to use words, to be kind and thoughtful with them. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

It was Will Rogers who said, “The only time people dislike gossip is when the gossip is about them.”

We have all been the victim of gossip, whether face-to-face or on the internet; the hurt we felt should be motivation enough to stop gossiping.

 

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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2 thoughts on “Gossip

  1. Over thirty-five years ago the story was circulated that I was married three times. At that time, I was holding down a secular job working as a full-time National Guardsman and also preaching for a small congregation in Sherman, Mississippi. Strangely enough I became aware of this untrue story through my wife, Shirley.

    Shirley was working as a cook each summer for the Maywood Christian Camp in Hamilton, Alabama. One day as guests gathered in the dinning hall area to have coffee, she overheard someone mentioned my name. She sat down at the table with the guests. What she overheard was, “That Don Fox what a rascal, do you know he has been married three times?” “I wouldn’t go and hear such a man preach…” Shirley asked, “Do you know Don?” The storyteller quickly responded, “No and I don’t want to know him.” Shirley then introduced herself to the group as my wife.

    Shirley gave the explanation to the group; you see we were married three times to each other. Both of us were in the USA Army, stationed in Japan. After receiving permission to marry from both of our Commanders, we were married on 15 April 1953 by the American Embassy. The same day we had to register and married by the Japanese government and the next day we were married in a religious ceremony. Yes, the truth of the matter is I was married three times and all three times to Shirley.

    The storyteller was shocked by the revelation that what he spread was a lie. He repented and revealed who the slanderer was. The slanderer was privy to the facts concerning our marriage. Until this day, I have wondered how many folks in this area still believe the slanderous story. Such a thing as being slandered has haunted me, wondering and worrying. I have asked myself, “Why would anyone hate me so much or want to do me harm?” I find it very difficult to forget and put aside this slander.

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