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.