Suicidal Gossip

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    by Sean Perron
  • I love him very much. I really respect him. But I’m very concerned about one of our pastors… He was seen at the church with a woman. I heard they were alone after hours for “counseling.”

  • I am really frustrated… I was not invited. They never invite me to anything anymore. I think it is because she was going too far with her boyfriend and didn’t like it when I called her out on it.

Gossip.

Perhaps you have heard conversations like these before, or perhaps you have been a part of them. Forbes magazine said the number one way to destroy a company was to let gossip run rampant. Gossip can divide families, cripple friendships, and split a church overnight. A reputation can be ruined in less than one minute. It only takes one domino to start a series of catastrophic conversations. It is a kudzu that spreads and covers it’s victims until it suffocates them. Gossip is like a cut left unattended which can slowly bleed the life out of someone.

Proverbs 18:7-8 says,

A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

What is gossip?

Gossip is talking about a person to someone who is not a part of the problem nor a part of the solution.

This is not a watertight definition, but I do believe it is helpful.

The Bible gives credence for confronting someone spreading gossip. This would be an example of talking to someone who is a part of the problem. But what do I mean by talking to someone who is a part of the solution? It can be helpful in some circumstances to seek outside help on an issue for the purpose of bringing peace. Matthew 18:15-20 would be a good example of two going to talk with someone who is in sin. I also see the Biblical possibility about seeking wisdom from a more mature Christian to give insight in a scenario (Matthew 18:21-22). This would be talking to someone who is a part of the solution and can be done in a way that maintains the honor of the person being discussed.

But my purpose here is not to define gossip and all its gritty facets. Instead, I want to quickly point out an effect of gossip that is often overlooked.

We all know that slander can destroy our neighbors, but we do not realize it destroys us.  Gossip ruins the gossiper.

Proverbs 18:7-8 says,

“A fool’s mouth is his ruin,

and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

A fool’s mouth is his ruin. It does not just say, “destroys his neighbor”. Rather, the Proverbs make it clear that gossip destroys the gossiper. Gossip does not merely scorch someone else, it burns us as well. The gossiper is like the arsonist who intentionally sets the forest on fire, but accidently sets ablaze every exit of the forest and finds himself trapped.

Gossip not only ruins the reputation of others, it ruins the reputation of the gossiper. The slanderer is someone working with a terrorist organization who does not know the slander has signed him up to be a suicide bomber. The gossiper is unaware that when he is detonating a bomb to destroy the reputation of others, that bomb is actually strapped to his back.

How can this be?  The moment we gossip, we destroy our reputation.  The moment we gossip is the moment we lose all credibility. The gossiper automatically deems himself untrustworthy.

Proverbs 25:9-10 says,

Argue your case with your neighbor himself,

  and do not reveal another’s secret,

lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,

  and your ill repute have no end.

The New Living translation says “you will never regain your reputation.”

Think about it. You cannot trust someone who shares the secrets of others. The way they talk about others is the way they will talk about you. The moment you share someone else’s secret with someone, that person can no longer trust you with their secrets.

Rest assured, the fool who gossips and slanders, brings ruin upon himself. We have all done this. We have all hurt others with our words and wounded ourselves in the process. We need a Savior who can forgive us of sin and save us from its devastating effects.

This is adapted from the sermon “Gossip and the Gospel

One thought on “Suicidal Gossip

  1. Great insight here. I think something even more insidious is how gossip can be couched in Christian terms, as if we’re going to lessen the severity of the sin we’re committing.
    For instance, people can suggest we “pray for Joe” as we spill some sort of sordid story (gossip) related to “Joe.”
    A man I knew once actually said “well, you know he’s divorced” when commenting to something I said in a group discussion about a particular author. I was so taken aback by his tone of voice and the out-of-context way he said it that I said, rather angrily, “what does that have to do with this discussion?” I share this anecdote as just one example of how Christians can attempt to get away with gossip, when it’s really all the same.

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