Thursday, October 13, 2011

If Gossip is the Devil's Radio, Then Why is it Always Playing Our Favorite Song

My wife and I were watching a movie earlier this week and a minister in the movie made the statement "Gossip is the devil's radio."  How true that is.  Most people consider gossip to be a so-called "minor" sin.  It is not something we think much of and something almost all of us participate in at some level. God does not take gossip lightly as it is a terrible sin that has terrible effects on the body of Christ.  We may make light of it, but God takes gossip very seriously.  So let us take a few moments today to look at the effects of gossip.
And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; [they are] whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.  Romans 1:28-32 NKJV
The first thing we need to know about gossip is that it effects our witness and our relationship to God.  Gossip, as we see here, is a hallmark of a debased mind.  Furthermore, one only needs to look at the rest of the list that it is a part of to understand just how serious it is.  It is just as much a sign as a debased mind as a mind that is unmerciful, invents evil things, violent, etc.  Gossip is a terrible witness because it is a sign of an unredeemed mind and undermines any witness you may have had to Jesus working in your heart and mind. 
He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.  Proverbs 17:9 NKJV
The natural flesh reaction to seeing someone do something wrong or embarrassing is a desire to share what was seen with other people.  There are newspapers and magazines that have hoards or reporters and photographers and making millions of dollars to repeat the sins and embarrassments of celebrities.  This would not be possible if we were not so very willing to hear every bit of it.  This gossip has moved past the tabloids to where I can not even go to Fox News or CNN on the internet and not seem some kind of celebrity gossip right on the front page as part of top news.  It would not be top news if it did not interest us so much.  Of course once gossip spreads, friendships, relationships, and even marriages break apart.  The first relationship to suffer is between that of the gossiper and the betrayed friend, but once that gossip spreads it never stays limited to that.  Depending on what the gossip has been, I have seen friendships, relationships, and even marriages break apart because of gossip.  God warned us that this would happen, yet by and large we have ignored those warnings leaving many victims in our wake.
The words of a talebearer [are] like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.  Proverbs 18:8 NKJV
Another effect of gossip is that it can not be forgotten.  You can not undo gossip.  We naturally gobble the information up and it becomes a burden in our hearts. It becomes a stain that we can not remove.  If someone tells you something you should never have known, that can not be undone.  The person can not un-say it and you can not un-remember it.  It penetrates deep down into your heart and you are now burdened with keeping a secret you never should have known to begin with.  What makes matters worse is that if a gossip tells one person, you know they told others and you have no idea who knows what you know and who does not know.  You also know that not everyone will be as good as you at keeping things secret and those other people may try to engage in discussing that piece of information.  Quite honestly, the only thing that should be discussed is confronting the gossiper and reminding that person of the sin they are committing.  Sadly, we often do not do that, if we draw any line it is at repeating it, but certainly not hearing it.  It is a tasty morsel, after all.  Either way, you now know something about someone else and no matter how you want to try to convince yourself otherwise, that information will affect how you perceive or treat that other person. 
He who goes about [as] a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.  Proverbs 20:19 NKJV
Gossip is also a betrayal.  It is a betrayal of trust with someone who has shared something very personal about himself.  When you share that information with others, you are breaking that trust.  This even includes gossiping through prayer.  What I mean by mean by that are those times where a gossip shares private information, but only to "pray" for that person.  God is not deceived by such actions.  You can not make gossip somehow righteous by making it into prayer.  What does it say about you as a friend when you can not help but to share everything you hear with other people?  What kind of person destroys the reputation of another just because it's "fun" to share secrets with other people.  Perhaps you think it is a matter of pride to know things about other people and you flex that pride in choosing what to share. I tell you with the authority of the Word of God that what you do is nothing to be proud of, rather is something to be terribly ashamed of and a sin you need to confess to God.  There are very few betrayals as bad as the one of gossip. 

And so today I hope that you all know that despite how popular and entertaining it may seem, gossip is a filthy evil thing that must be expunged from the life of a Christian.  It has no place in the behavior of a child of God.  It shows that you lack any kind of love for your brothers and sisters when their secrets become something for your entertainment, no matter the consequences.  Please also know that this includes celebrity gossip.  God makes no such exception.  Gossip is gossip no matter who the victim is.  Gossip breaks apart friendships, relationships, families, marriages, and even churches.  We must not spread gossip and if someone tries to tell you some, you need to stop that person and remind them of the evil act they are about to partake in.  Gossip is a cancer in the body of Christ, if it is not stopped before it spreads, then there is no way to stop it at all. 
A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.  Proverbs 11:13 NKJV

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