gossip

THE COMMON SIN THAT NO ONE DOES

Gossips

No one wants to be called a gossip, and I doubt many people think they are a gossip.

Yet, gossip is widespread!

This means gossipers are plentiful. It also means that people don’t understand gossip or their own inclinations toward it.

An excellent book that walks us through the nuances of gossip is “Resisting Gossip” by Matthew Mitchell. You can read my review of this book.

Tim Challies drew from Mitchell’s book to write his own article on the subject, “The Five Gossips You Will Meet”.

The purpose of Mitchell and Challies (and now me) is two-fold:

1)  Help us identify and protect our lives from the influence of each form of gossiper, which includes not allowing them to use us to extend their sin.

2)  Help us examine and identify aspects of gossip which may already be in us. Even if you are fairly certain that you are not a gossip, there may be fragments of gossip lurking in you.

Why should you bother giving attention to the subject of gossip? Because God gives his attention to gossipers and He clearly is not pleased with the practice. In fact, it is somewhat shocking to see the company in which God places the sin of gossip:

Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

The seriousness in which God takes gossip should be motivation to scrutinize our lives and make sure we are not allowing any trace of this sin to hide in us. This includes as the passage above points out, “giving approval”, which encompasses encouraging gossipers by giving them an audience.

SHUT IT DOWN

gossip

Gossip

Sweet tidbits of intrigue and scandalous information – or at least unflattering descriptions.

Gossip, typically is welcome . . . unless it is about us.

THEN – – gossip quickly is recognized as a hurtful distortion of facts, or an unnecessary revealing of truths.

Be thoughtful about how gossip is a dagger when it features you or someone you love.

THEN – – realize that gossip always has a victim, and those who share it are holding the dagger.

Even when we are “only listening”, we are in effect giving our approval like the unconverted Saul holding the robes of those who stoned Stephen.

One reason we don’t take gossip more seriously (when we are not the victim), is that we are not fully convinced of how serious it is.

Look over these passages and notice the company of sins in which the Bible places gossip.

“They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are GOSSIPS, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil” (Romans 1:29-30)

“I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, GOSSIP, conceit, and disorder.” (2 Corinthians 12:20)

If gossip were a person, you would not want your children spending time in their company.

Erik Raymond shares helpful thoughts in this article “How to Shut Down Gossip”.

Let’s prayerfully use Erik’s article in two ways:

#1. Strengthen our convictions to Shut Down Gossip

#2. Equip ourselves in the best ways to Shut Down Gossip

As Erik says in his conclusion, “Let’s step our game up and, starting with ourselves, work to shut down gossip.”

SUPERMARKET READING

When standing in the checkout line at a grocery store, we are forced to either look at the magazine rack or browse over the labels of what is in our cart. For the most part we are better off reading the labels.

The magazines generally fall into three categories:

(1)  Gossip magazines that are unbiblical in their very reason for existence

If it’s unbiblical to gossip, then it’s unbiblical to jump into the stream of the gossip industry. We may tell ourselves it is just innocent entertainment, but that is not God’s view of it (Romans 1:28-21, 2 Corinthians 12:20, and 1 Timothy 5:13). 

If we say we follow God then we must exchange our thoughts with his. Magazine selection is a small thing, but small things are the bread and butter of being faithful

(2)  Glamor Magazines that give us a distorted view of ourselves and life

These magazines create idols out of youth and external beauty. They seek to create discontentment within ourselves – and they are not even honest about it.

On the rare occasions when untouched photos are used, that itself becomes a news story.

Mike Cosper wrote this article on the Gospel Coalition entitled “The Satanic Ideology of Photoshop”.

(3)  Cooking and recipe magazines

        Go for it!

 6.22.12

“DID YOU HEAR …”

“Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.”

― Joseph Conrad

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody come sit next to me.”

― Alice Roosevelt Longworth

My book recommendation this month comes from recognizing how easily we can relate to these quotes

gossip 008

I first heard about Matthew Mitchell’s book “Resisting Gossip” while listening to a sermon by my friend Mark Prater. He encouraged pastors to use this book to help “gossip proof” their churches.

We should know protecting our lives from gossip is God’s desire, because the Bible gives us strongly worded warnings against it:

For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 2 Corinthians 12:20

It is hard to “gossip proof” our life for several reasons”:

We enjoy sharing gossip

We enjoy hearing tantalizing morsels of gossip

Gossip is common to the point of not noticing that we are involved in it

We are not always sure what is and is not gossip

We don’t know the best way respond to the gossip that swirls around us

The book “Resisting Gossip” is helpful in addressing all these issues.

It makes us more aware of gossip and its many inspirations

It helps us to have wise (and gracious) responses to gossip

This is a book every Christian will find helpful to growing in godliness.