Into Thy Word -
Copyright 2000 Richard Joseph Krejcir
Part I: the ultimate "destroyer!
Listening to all criticism, Having the Nose for the News:
"Gossip Mongers!" This was the phrase I heard by a close friend who grew up in the church but now won't go, because of all the gossip. The definition here is a person who loves to listen in to the tantalizing details of other people's lives, which they do not need to hear, nor should they hear. This person is in love of what is insatiable news of other peoples problems. That is they love the dirt and the scoop, and not only do they love to hear it, but they'll repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. What separates these people from the gossips is that they do not start the gossip, they only listen to it or repeat it. They feel they are above the gossips because they do not dare make up something about someone, but they will quickly believe it when someone else tells them, and thus spread it around the world.
These people give credence to every rumor story or criticism that springs out around them. It does not make a difference if it's true or not true because the trust relationship is automatically develop between listener and the hearer. The hearer of the gossip automatically trusts that the person saying it is right because they are their friends, or they don't care if it's true because they feel no responsibility of its truthfulness, since they did not start it in the first place. But in God eyes, it's all the same if you started it or if you spread it, the sin is the same, the damage is the same, the result is the same. The result is someone being hurt and/or driven away because of untrue slander.
The definition of gossip is simple, Rumor or talk of a personal or sensational nature, Someone who habitually spreads sensational or intimate facts (Websters Dictionary)
We Christians seem to have the problem of getting stuck in our own little world. We seem to get stuck in our own mindset, where we evaluate all of our experiences including meeting people, relating to other people, and even worshiping God to our own very limited experience and way of thinking.
When we engage in this behavior we severely limit our ability to be used to bring out the gifts that Christ gave us, and let the Word of God transform us. Because we keep comparing everything to our own way of thinking and our experiences, and if something doesn't match with it, we then throw it out. And the even bigger danger is when we are young we think we know everything with out any or few experiences!
Now most Christians would never admit to doing this, because most of them do not realize they're doing it, but the result of these actions is that we do not grow spiritually or in maturity. If you are not sure you have this problem, then ask yourself this question:
Q: Do you compare your experiences to Gods Word, or do you compare Gods Word to your experiences?
The question is designed to focus our attention on Gods Word as absolute and authoritative. That is the Bible is the final authority to all matters of faith and practice.
So if you have an experience, then we are to test it according to Gods Word, and not the opposite. The opposite would be to put the focus on our experience as being normal. Thus all of our encounters in life are compared to our views and experience, and only then compared secondary to Gods Word. And if Gods Word is not in compliance with our experiences; then, we reject the scripture and not our experience. That is why we have so much false teaching in the church and media today. People have the natural ability due to our fallen nature, to promote our experiences over anything else, and excuse and reject what does not match, even over Gods Word.
So what does this have to do with gossip? A lot. It has to do with all interpretations and the experiences of the Christian life and walk. And gossip has become a regular practice in the Christian life, both in young people as well as with the elderly. No one is immune to sin! When we run across the Christian who honestly believes that gossip is OK and even beneficial, we can know why they came to that conclusion, when Gods Word is clear and imperative on the wrongs of gossip.
Most Christian young people have not to let Christ transform them beyond the first stage of salvation (That is identifying our faith as what we know and grow up with and not being personal and trusting it with all of our being.); especially in their way of thinking and mindset. This places a limit on how and what Christ is able to accomplish in our lives. The result of this behavior is that gossip becomes a normal practice. So most Christians listening to or spreading the news are not aware that it is wrong, because their experience, friends, and minds tells them it's OK. It's OK because others are doing, it's OK because I get away with it, and it's OK because I never heard a correction from reliable sources.
We human beings love to hunger for the news, yet neither local newspapers, nor do our church newsletters really cover this riveting beat of human conflicts, joys, sorrows, and flaws. Just try doing a internet search on gossip and see what you get, or check out all the gossip newspapers at the supermarket, or all the shows on cable and day time TV.
A good reporter checks facts and verifies the choice of words, gossip has no dedication or commitment to truth or good taste. It thrives on the juicy tidbits of rumors, false reports, tattle tales, and special privileged information, especially in the personal nature.
Gossip tantalizes our fallen and sinful nature. We love to listen to it:
"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts." (Proverbs 18:8, NIV).
You may not think so but, true or false, gossip affects us deeply.
Can gossip be avoided? Hardly at all, it is inevitable. The gossip network in your church, or school, or work, or even home, often provides a convenient way to understand what is happening around us. We discuss with each other the newest scuttlebutt, trying to piece together some kind of truth from the rumors and events of the day.
Yet this gossip network works like a computer network, all tied in and sharing an invading destructive virus. Because gossip is rarely truthful, or is ever beneficial. And it becomes progressively distorted as it passes from one tongue to another. We all played the "Telephone Game" where a message is whispered at the front of the line bears little similarity to the version at the end of the line. Further, gossip always one-sided. It tries a case on the basis of the prosecution's evidence alone, and never listens to the defense.
Then, gossip gets out of control. Like a driving your car recklessly and losing control on a small piece of ice, there is no way to put the car back together before you get home, so your parents won't find out. The damage cannot be undone.
Proverbs tells us that A scoffer who is rebuked will only hate you; the wise, when rebuked, will love you. (Proverbs 9:8)
What this verse is in effect saying is when the person hears correct teaching and does not like it or does not like the person who gave it to them, then they will throw it out as worthless. Because you don't have to listen to someone you do not like. And this is a big part of the problem of false teachings.
Make no mistake, gossip will destroy with a greater impact and power, than possibly any other event a youth group or church could ever face!
A few years ago those of us in Southern California were being ravaged by forest fires. It looked as if the entire San Gabriel mountain range was ablaze. I remember it well as its burned into my memory! I also remember how one of those huge fires started, a homeless man was trying to warm himself with matches, and it got away from him. All the streets were blocked for miles, and I had no way to get home, as I watched in wonder at the roadblock to my house. You see the tongue of ours is such a fire starter. All that it takes to burn a forest down is a spark; all it takes to destroy a youth group or church is our mouths running amuck. Satan himself can not do a better job, than our own misdirected words!
The Telltale Tongue Discussion!
Check out what the Bible says about gossip!!!!
Read each verse, then draw a picture that illustrates the type of "Tongue", as you discuss this in your group, use paper or a story or illustration, be creative and challenge yourself.
$ Psalm 5:9
$ Psalm 12:3
$ Psalm 52:2
$ Psalm 109:2
$ Psalm 120:2
$ Proverbs 17:4
$ Proverbs 25:23
$ Jeremiah 9:8
$ James 3:6
1. What have you experienced in terms of gossip, have there been rumors about you, or have you spread rumors about others?
2. Why does the Bible use so many passages to deal with our "Tongue"?
3. How can you control your tongue?
Read Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 10:19 and James 1:26
4. 4. How do these passages help?
5. What does God want us to do with our tongue?
6. So what are you going to do about God's call?
6. Have you let Christ transform you so that your faith is yours and personal, and not just because this is all you know, you may go to a Christian school, are involved in church and have believing parents, but what about you?
Part II: "The Three Breeds of Gossip"
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. (Proverbs 17:27-28; 26:20 NIV)
The Bible is directing us to restrain our speech and a wise person controls their tongue, that is what we say and how we say it. The Bible goes on to say that people that spread the gossip have malicious intentions as much as the people who start the gossip in the first place. That this malice leads to destruction of property and persons, just as bad as a fire, would destroy a home or even a church.
The important lesson we must learn is the church is not a building, but the people of God who just use the building to meet in. Too many churches think the building is the most important thing of God, and miss the point of what it is for and of its use.
When our focus is to get mean with each other and find fault with each other, all we accomplish is the shooting of ourselves. As Christians we all are partakers and participants of the body of Christ, so we're just shooting parts of our own body. What they're doing is taking something Holy of God, such as using prayer to spread gossip, thus we turn prayer into slander and misinformation for very un-holy agenda. This belittlement, embarrassment, hatefulness, harassment, vexation, obnoxiousness, offensiveness, un-inviting, annoying, burdensome, upsetting, tormenting, and just plain nasty behavior that does not belong in the body of Christ, and certainly does nothing to further the Kingdom of God.
Gossip has three breeds to it, or three different levels. Separating these three levels can be as hard as separating the chocolate chips out of the cookie. It is extremely hard to do with out disturbing the cookie! So it is with our mislaid words.
First: Is the "chit chat" we all do. "Did you hear that the Chaedwicks are moving" or "Steve 's parents gave him a new car for ground hog day". This is basic information without harmful intent, which we must be careful what we say and how we say it!
Second: Gets stickier; "Did you hear that Debby's parents are fighting again" or "Have you heard that Kevin is in a real bad mood, so just ignore him". This may not be mean or vindictive, but this tells a story of someone's character that may not be true. And we will base our judgments on false and misleading information.
Third: Is slander! Maliciously telling or repeating a tale that may or not be true, to tear someone down. "Do not go near Patty, she is weird and nobody likes her" or "The new kid is only here because he got kicked out of Redwood and his parents have lots of money". This third level of gossip destroys people's reputations and betrays secrets that are not meant for our ears. This level prevents friendships and takes potential good relations and destroys them, doing exactly what Satan wants!
This third level is slander, and God hates it!!! Webster's Dictionary tells us slander is, "the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage reputations. This may be viewed, as ordinary conversations during lunch, but make no mistake; slander seeks to distort and to destroy! It tears down the people of God, where our call is to build them up!
Prayer is in the business of building our relationship up with God, and uplifting each other up to further God's kingdom. Yes, we are to bring requests from each other before God, this is intercession, an important aspect of prayer and community building. What prayer is not, is a place to share information that no one else needs to know. We do not need to share personal matters unless the person we're sharing about has agreed for this to happen.
Breaking confidentiality to people who do not have the right to know is very dangerous and destructive. As is bringing slanderous accusations without facts or verification to back it up and especially not going through the process of Matthew eighteen. Some Christians are very careful not to divulge confidentiality but instead will let loose just enough information to leave an impression, which may not be true. Especially when it comes to someone else's character, such as, let's pray for John because he keeps getting bad grades and no one likes him. With just that little bit of information, no one knows the reasons why John gets bad grades, perhaps it's illness, perhaps he has a learning disability, or a poor home life, it can be many reasons besides that John may be stupid or not have the necessary skills. Even if it is a skills or IQ problem it's up to the body of Christ to help John with the skills necessary for life. Were called to build each other up, not to tear each other down.
Let us watch our mouths!!!
Read Ephesians 4:29-32:
1. What does God call us to do in this passage?
2. How do you feel about this statement?
"When we gossip, when we hear something and turn around and repeat it without knowing its validity, we are being malicious and have no concern for the truth. And when we have no concern for the truth, then we have no concern for the Lord, who is a God of truth!"
3. Does your tongue itch to tell a tale, is it your desire to listen to the latest gossip and repeat it, or even elaborate on it?
4. How do you think people gossiped about feel about it?
5. How do you think God feels?
6. Read Matthew 5:9: What does this passage have to do with gossip?
7. Ralph cornered James in the hall. "Have you heard about Renea and Jim? They have been, well you know....can you believe it?
8. What would you do if you were Ralph?
9. What would you do if you were Renea or Jim?
10. Can you think of similar examples without using names?
11. Can you think of examples for each of the three levels?
Part III: "The Disease of Diotrephes"
III John tells us:
"vs. 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.
vs. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
vs. 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
vs. 12 Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone‑‑and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true."
Diotrephes had a reign of tyranny through gossip and slander in the name of Christ. John makes a strong and decisive stand against gossip. John is representing not only his apostleship, but mainly the authoritative presence of Christ. The presence of Christ is a stern warning, and in a loving encouragement for us, that we must replace the temptation of spreading gossip and replace it with the love of Christ.
We get 6 negative and destructive themes from this passage that should act like a brick wall to our slanderous marks:
(Bold are your discussion questions; Each group is to take 2 themes, keep track of the questions you did not cover, so you can come back too at a later date.)
1. "Who loves to be first": Christ first loves us, He goes first. Why do people want to be first? Because we want to be a god to ourselves, and God of the universe keeps getting in the way. Yet He loves us first.
1. Check out Philippians 2:3-5 How can we develop this attitude in Philippians?
2. Read Mark 9:33-35 What Does it mean for us to be a slave in order to have a place of honor?
3. How does this desire show itself in you and others?
4. Why do you think people want to be first?
5. Should Christians have this me first attitude?
So instead of trying to be first we should place Christ first, and then gossip will fall aside.
2. "He would have nothing to do with us": The "us" is the people of faith in Christ. Have you ever experienced someone having nothing to do with you? Did this experience happen when you did something right and your friends were upset, perhaps because they feel betrayed? Maybe they wanted to go out drinking and you were the only one with a car and you turned them down. Perhaps a friend wanted to do something stupid and you tried to talk them out of it, and they got mad at you. Maybe it was you who tried to pressure a friend to do something wrong and they got mad at you!
Diotrephes rejected the truth of an Apostle.
6. How do we reject the truth of our Lord and Savior?
7. What is your attitude to those in leadership?
8. Check out Hebrews 13:7,17; Why would a leader be unable to help you if you do not respect them?
9. So how can you be more supportive to the leaders God brings you?
10. As a young person do you find it hard to respect those who are older, why or why not?
3. "to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously": Have you known people either young or old who just love to gossip? People who have the nose for the news of others, but with a perverted intent. That is they do not want the news to help and encourage them, but desire the news to put them down. How does this make you feel; perhaps you are hurt by it, or you get excited about it. But how does your Lord feel about it, and how does He feel about your response toward gossip?
What would our youth group be like if everyone was encouraging to everyone else, regardless of what may have gone on before. Regardless if we like them or not, because we are responding to Christ's love. Remember God loves us first. So if God first loves us and we do not deserve it, should we not do the same to each other?
11. What happens to a group when gossip becomes a habit?
12. Have you ever started gossip or spread it?
13. What would happen to your group?
14. What does God have to say about gossip? Check out James 3:1-12 & Ephesians 4:25-29. What do you think of these passages?
15. So how can you stop gossip?
16. How can you practice helpful and encouraging speech?
4. "He refuses to welcome the brothers": Do you know people who just are not hospitable, that is they are mean and/or ignore new people. These people have bad attitudes and they do not like certain people, so they decided to be mean. How does this make you feel? Have you ever experienced such treatment? Have you witnessed it happening in school or in youth group. Maybe you are the one who is mean to others, maybe you do not even know you are doing it, if so what can you do about it?
17. Does this happen in your group?
18. Can you think of a specific instance with out using peoples names?
19. Do you know people who refuse to go to your youth group because someone has gossiped?
20. Check out Romans 16:17-18 & Titus 3:9-11. Can you think of times when it may be necessary to dis-fellowship someone?
21. Why is our relationship to each other so important? What can we do to improve our relations to each other and make others feel welcomed?
5. "He also stops those who want to do so": Can you imagine that someone in the name of Christ is stopping other Christians from following Christ's character! Do you or do you know others who stop people from doing the right thing? How do they keep others from doing what is right?
22. What keeps you from doing the right thing? Check out James 4:17
23. So how can you develop the maturity to do what is right and be an example to others?
24. How can you be an encourager instead of a gossiper?
6. "And puts them out of the church": Diotrephes was on the war path, he actually got rid of people who were faithful to Christ, because they got in his way. In my experience there is nothing a child of the Devil hates more than a child of God. If you are a faithful Christian you can expect people coming against you, even other Christians. But God is on the side of the faithful and true and not on the side of those who cause division and destruction. So take comfort in His grace, for He will be with you and they will get what is coming in the end.
25. Can you think of times when the leadership of the church should invoke discipline, that is asking not to take part in communion or asking someone to leave?
26. How does discipline help people to grow?
27. How can our youth group practice discipline? Check out I Corinthians 5:1-5 & Matthew 18:15-17.
28. So are you ever a Diotrephes? Are there Diotrephes in our group?
29. So what can we do, how can we be encouragers and attractive to visitors?
Part IV: "The beast of Destruction"!!
Bullies in the playground tend to have a poor self image, and usually poor upbringing, and parents who don't have time or do not care. Or the parents themselves create the environment of hostility in the first place, if you do not believe this just go to a Little League baseball game and watch how some of the parents behave in the crowd. These behaviors may include such actions as egging the youth to get into fights because they themselves grew up that way, or demanding that their youth must perform better than everyone elses youth. So the bully will get their tensions out in different ways, as an escape mechanism. And one of the ways the bully will substitute care and attention is by picking on other people; this makes them feel good about themselves. By picking on other people it creates an environment where they're not the ones being picked on which gives them comfort and security.
For the Christian who are living contrary to the will of God, especially in matters of morality and values, the best way to cover them up is to attack others who have those values, in that way they can rationalize that they're doing the right thing which gives them comfort and security. We Christians need to be aware of this behavior, so we can correct these behaviors before they blow up and cause mass destruction, by spreading and effecting the body of Christ. That's why it is so imperative that a youth group and church have a caring and loving attitude, it must be bold, so when such cancerous outbreaks occur they can be easily spotted. Just as a forest fire cannot easily spread when the ground is wet, however, a fire will spread rapidly when there is a dry environment. When a youth group or church is wet with love and caring attitudes and healthily biblical teaching, the fires of these diseases cannot spread because there's no fuel to spread them.
Then we can concentrate on caring for that individual. Because the person who usually causes the attack needs ministering in a big way even though they may not want it or feel that they need it. Theyre hurting too just like a wounded dog. I'm not saying some Christians are dogs, this is just an illustration.
When I was a boy my grandparents had a poodle named Cindy, this was one of the most affectionate and sweetest dogs I've ever met. I was very rough on that dog I would climb on Cindy and hang on her ears and she dragged me around. That dog Cindy would put up with me and love me no matter what I did, and I probably hurt her many times. One day my grandfather was backing out of the driveway and he accidentally ran over the dog, and she was injured. So I ran to her side to pick her up then she bit me, and I was in shock. After all, I was trying to help, I did not run her over, but Cindy was in shock too and did not know what was going on, and her instinct was to protect herself and bite.
People can be that way too, when they're so hurt and so injured and see no other way out of the situation, this will create an environment to relieve that hurting by afflicting hurt on someone else. In most cases this is done unintentionally. But can there are people who are in need of putting other people down with cynicism and sly remarks to make themselves feel good. It is imperative for leaders and mature Christians to be aware of our human behavior, so they can understand what is going on and provide remedies for dysfunctional situations.
This is not a new phenomenon, as the early church struggled with it. The book of James was a counter to the problem of slander and called people to make the necessary changes to their relationships. So they can be more effective for Christ. The main area of needed change was the tongue.
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:5-6 NIV)
Discussion Questions: Go over each of the "Four Waves of Destruction", and ask:
1. How does this match my experience?
2. How and where have you experienced these "waves"?
3. How does this destruction work?
The word of God is clear; gossip will corrupt the whole person! And the impact we should feel from these verses should bring us down to our knees. Gossip is so inviting. How often have I found myself slipping with my tongue, without the intention of doing any harm. Yet it has! When we have a clear view of gossip's reasons, how gossip comes about, and how gossip destroys; then, we can be better at protecting others from the harm that we may cause.
Gossip causes "Four Distinct Waves of Destruction":
1: First and foremost, gossip violates scripture! The bottom line is we are not taking Gods Word seriously enough. We tend to elevate our experiences over God's Word, rather than mistrusting our experiences, and trusting Gods direction. Remember God is a God of truth, and He expects His children to be truthful to each other. When we reject the truth of Scripture we are in fact rejecting God Himself.
2: Gossip violates the persons reputation we are speaking about! There are times when we need to speak about another person, to protect some one else. For example, as a Youth Pastor I'm concerned that no one working with youth has any kind of sex offense. So I will check references, this is not gossip. Gossip of this kind is spreading a tale we have heard or have made up without any fact bases to it. Such as stories and tales that are made up just for the sake of putting someone else down. If you hear that someone has not been to youth group or church in a while, that does not mean you spread it around the world. What it does mean is you go to the pastor and/or the leadership, and they deal with it. You may also visit that person yourself in a loving and encouraging way.
3: Gossip violates the persons reputation who is spreading it! It is simple if you spread false information; people will not believe you when you are telling the truth, i.e. the boy who cried wolf. When this happens the sacredness of trust is violated, and when there's no trust then no healthy relationships will be able to develop. Our relationship with God becomes affected, and the congregations relationships to each other are extremely limited in their ability to grow too. Although typically the person who spreads the disease of gossip their defense mechanism spins it around so that it was everyone elses fault.
4: Gossip affects the listeners impression! That is, the person hearing the rumor may believe it and in turn share it with others, thus creating a never ending cycle of misinformation. Thus the cycles of hurt and pain keep going on. This happened at my church in the south, where one leader's gossip caused the destruction of the church, because people who heard it believed it, and in turn told others. This is also where the gossiping groups come into action. They spend their time gossiping and not on the spiritual disciplines of growth in Christ. So the people get the wrong message. The miss-message of the news is actually not the only thing being misrepresented. Since the method as well as the action by spreading it in the first place is also being misrepresented. So the attitude of "since every one else is doing it", then it is OK that I do it too.
Which one are you?
Part V: How we can guard against Gossip: "So, what can I do"?
Beware of Missing the Mark that Christ has for us:
The results of this gossip being spread and not adequately being dealt with; especially by the leaders, creates an atmosphere of distrust. Once the leadership of the youth group or church is causing discontent, not only are they missing the mark that Christ has for us, but they create such an untrusting atmosphere that the true believers cannot confide with counseling matters, nor do they mature adequately. This is a lesson for all of us; we all have skills and issues that we all need to work on with our spiritual walk with the Lord. I do not believe we as Christians will ever strive to full perfection, nor does God call us to be totally perfect. But what God does call us is to be our best. And when we refuse to grow, and we keep making the same mistakes over and over again all that we're doing is hurting Christ, His people and ourselves.
The Bible gives us clear direction and how we are to keep our mouths in His direction, that is God's direction not our own. Proverbs gives us many verses that shows our human weakness and fallen state that seeks out the destruction of each other instead of building each other up as God desires us to do.
If you still are not sure what is gossip and what is not, use this simple formula or acronym to give you the nudge: THINK!!!
T-THINK, (Proverbs 16:23) Think before you speak! Are you? Intelligent people think before they speak, so what they say is persuasive. Pause before you open your mouth and engage your mind. And if you are, is the information TRUE? If the information is not true, then dispose of it. If you are not sure of its validity, then check it out with reliable sources! If a person keeps spreading the slander, then seek out the pastor and or leadership in charge.
H-HELPFUL, (Proverbs 18:20) is it? Will the information be an encouragement, and blessing to the person, you are sharing about, or sharing to? If not, then do not share it, unless it is necessary to protect someone. Such as telling the church leadership that someone is gossiping and refuses correction.
I-INSPIRING, (Proverbs 24:26) is it? Will the information convict someone in a biblical way, and in a positive way? Will the information be uplifting? If so than give it, if not then do not, don't do it!
N-NECESSARY, (Proverbs 10:10) is it? Does the person need the information, or do you need to tell it? If its the telling, then it is of no worth! Don't do it! Always speak the truth!
K-KIND, (Proverbs 12:18; 25) is it? Will the information be kind to the person, so in turn you will be kind in giving it?
If you cannot honestly justify your message to this acronym, then do not say it! Instead try to say something encouraging, from your heart, And always if in doubt then PRAY!
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. (James 3:2 NIV)
James in this verse is communicating to us that with a small piece of hardware we can control a large animal, so why not put control on our own mouths. Without such a piece of hardware, a bridle, we would not be able to control a horse. In a similar way when we put the control of our mouth in the hands of Jesus and in turn surrender our will and desire to do slander; then we can be a great blessing to those around us, instead of being a hindrance.
The question is who has control of your tongue? Whose direction are the words and actions that come from your mouth aimed to?
The willingness to come before God and seek forgiveness is paramount. The willingness to ask God for help in controlling our mouths is by the book: Gods book! Help me Lord to keep my mouth shut! (Psalm 141:3 LB)
If you are a typical American you can be expected to say over 30 conversations a day; that is saying over 20,000 words a day for a man, and 30,000 words a day for a women, and for the typical pastor; let's not go there! You will spend 1/5th of your life talking, and you can fill 66 books each with 800 pages in a typical year! So we need help. And as Christians, Gods Word and Prayer are the only valid means of our tongues salvation! Yes we need help!
The tongue can be a force to spread the good news as it was meant; however, it too often is the force of evil in our youth group and churches. It can be so evil and so good. The same tongue can be a Billy Graham, or the cast of "Real World" on MTV. The tongue can say I love you and I care for you, and it can say I hate you. It expresses the love and hate, and the praise and contempt of our soul. So watch it and guard it, or the pew you sit in will be empty!
The gossip itself may not last, because if it is false, time will unravel it. Damaging information should never be spread. The only exception is if its true AND is essential for someones protection. That is, you hear someones boy friend has a gun and is looking for Suzy, then gossip away to the police and Suzy! But if its someones acne problem, keep it to yourself
With the control of our tongue, we will be able to say no! I will not spread that false information! A single word can condemn or glorify. It can ask, will you marry me, and say I do, and then it can divorce us from those promises. The action is what you make of it and whose control your will is in! The actions of our gossip will not only effect the others we try to harm but will boomerang back to hit us! And continue like a disease and infect our whole being. The richness of encouragement or the destruction of gossip are yours to command, but beware we will all be held accountable for our actions! Yes there is Grace, but make no mistake the importance of responsibility!
When we get to heaven we will be with a lot of X-hypocrites!
Copyright 2000 Richard Joseph Krejcir
Into Thy Word Ministries