2 Corinthians 12:20 (GW)
Paul’s Concern About the Corinthians’ Way of Life
20 I’m afraid that I may come and find you different from what I want you to be, and that you may find me different from what you want me to be. I’m afraid that there may be rivalry, jealousy, hot tempers, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly conduct.
Gossip. It’s that dirty little “secret” no one wants to admit to. Other people gossip, we only “share” what we think or what we have heard. The damage and danger of gossip is seen in the context it is placed…along with rivalry, selfish ambition, slander, arrogance and disorderly conduct. The Greek word for gossip means “whisperings” with the intent to slander. For this reason, gossip becomes a major integrity issue for the believer.
In this day and time of multimedia and almost unlimited social networking, it becomes virtually impossible to stop gossip, more less try to straighten things out. The truth is impossible to find unless you are willing go to the individual or individuals being gossiped about for the truth. The problem with that is, most folks have already made up their minds as to what they believe so a truthful explanation is ignored or discredited. If the person’s integrity has already been damaged, their words are not believed no matter what they say.
Integrity demands that we either stop the gossip or we go to the one being gossiped about and ask for the truth. Both take courage.
There is a saying which is wicked to the core: “There is your truth, my truth, and then there is the truth.” This declares there is no such thing as “absolute” truth which goes against everything we believe as Christians. It declares truth is subjective to the one discerning it. This goes against genuine righteousness. There is an absolute truth. Truth is not relative to our perceptions of it. Facts are facts. Truth is truth. You may be certain satan is around when gossip begins to flow unabated causing damage to people of integrity and honor. Half truths are whole lies. God is not the author of either.
Gossip is not laughable nor is it acceptable. None of us have the right to judge another person’s motives or intentions unless we are willing to seek to know what they are. Gossip is mean-spirited. We are to “civilized” in western society to cut folks up with a sword, but we are sure willing to use our tongues to inflict damage which can go deeper than simple flesh and bone.
Sadly, few of us are totally innocent of this vile sin. Either in spreading it or in refusing to listen to it. God have mercy on us!
James 3:5–12 (GW)
5 In the same way the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can brag about doing important things.
A large forest can be set on fire by a little flame. 6 The tongue is that kind of flame. It is a world of evil among the parts of our bodies, and it completely contaminates our bodies. The tongue sets our lives on fire, and is itself set on fire from hell. 7 People have tamed all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures. 8 Yet, no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison.
9 With our tongues we praise our Lord and Father. Yet, with the same tongues we curse people, who were created in God’s likeness. 10 Praise and curses come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, this should not happen! 11 Do clean and polluted water flow out of the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? In the same way, a pool of salt water can’t produce fresh water.