WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 24, 2023
TOPIC: REFRAIN FROM GOSSIP
BY T. O. BANSO
“You shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among your people, nor shall you [secure yourself by false testimony or by silence and] endanger the life of your neighbor. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:16 Amplified Bible).
The tongue is like other good things that can be used wrongly. The Bible says it is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts (James 3:5a). The book of James also compares it to fire. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell (verse 6).
Christians and non-Christians don’t always use their tongues in the right way. Christians are sometimes guilty of the lack of control of their tongues. We may not use our tongues wrongly to the same degree as non-believers but we are not free from abuse of our tongues. James 3:2 says, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (New King James Version).
A lack of control of one’s tongue leads to speaking too much. And as Proverbs 10:19 says, in the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The ability to control our tongues is a mark of spiritual maturity. David prayed to the LORD, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 New King James Version).
One of the wrong uses of our tongues that we must refrain from is gossip. Both Christians and non-Christians are guilty of this although some may not acknowledge that they gossip. Proverbs 26:22 says, “Gossip is a dainty morsel eaten with great relish” (The Living Bible). Many people see gossip as delicious! Today’s English Version renders Proverbs 26:22 thus: “Gossip is so tasty! How we love to swallow it!”
However, gossip is a sin (Romans 1:28-29). We cannot use the same mouth we use to pray and worship God for gossip, as James 3:8-10 says regarding using the same mouth for blessing and cursing. “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (New King James Version).
According to the Dictionary of Bible Themes, gossip is “Idle talk which foolishly or maliciously spreads rumours or facts.” Take note of this definition. Gossip is idle talk. Idle talk means “idle or foolish and irrelevant talk” (The Free Dictionary). Such talk foolishly or maliciously spreads rumours or facts. The word “maliciously” in the definition refers to the evil intention: to harm. As 1 Timothy 5:13 says, idleness or laziness encourages gossip.
Gossipers engage in foolish talk, which stupidly or with intent to harm, spread rumours or facts. Gossippers could spread rumours or facts. A rumour is “an unofficial interesting story or piece of news that might be true or invented, and quickly spreads from person to person” (Cambridge Dictionary). The information being spread may be true but the motive behind it is important. “A gossip goes around spreading rumors, while a trustworthy man tries to quiet them” (Proverbs 11:13 The Living Bible).
Christians should not engage in idle talk that foolishly or maliciously spreads rumours or facts that will harm another person’s reputation, relationships, and so on. God told the Israelites and He is also telling you, “Don’t gossip. Don’t falsely accuse your neighbor of some crime, for I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 19:16 The Living Bible). The Amplified Bible says it like this: “You shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among your people, nor shall you [secure yourself by false testimony or by silence and] endanger the life of your neighbor. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:16). Christians should not betray the trust of others.
According to the Dictionary of Bible Themes, the effects of gossiping are divisive and destructive. Proverbs 26:20 says, “Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and tensions disappear when gossip stops” (The Living Bible). Today’s English Version puts it this way: “Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarreling stops.”
Gossipers destroy relationships. “An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28 The Living Bible). Gossipers betray confidences. “One who brings gossip betrays a confidence, but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:13 World English Bible). They spread the secrets of others. Telling the secrets of others causes anger when the victims get to know about it. “As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!” (Proverbs 25:23 New Living Translation).
So much damage has been done by gossipers. They spread information that they are not authorized to disseminate and do so with malicious intent, not for the good of the person they are gossiping about. Meetings, including prayer meetings, should focus on their real purpose, not gossip about people. Talking about the wives of deacons or deaconesses, the Bible says they must not gossip. “Their wives also must be of good character and must not gossip” (1 Timothy 3:11b Today’s English Version).
There are gossipers everywhere, including in the church. Don’t be one, and if you are, repent and stop it. In 3 John 9-10, Diotrephes gossiped maliciously about the Apostle John. John said, “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church” (New International Version).
Beware of gossipers and refrain from gossip. Don’t broadcast rumours as Sanballat and Geshem did about Nehemiah; he denied their lies and refused to be intimidated to hold a meeting with them (Nehemiah 6:5-8). Gossip could be verbal or written, especially in social media. Refrain from both.
When someone talks with you and gossips about another person, change the topic of discussion. Exodus 23:1 says, “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (New King James Version). Even if the gossiper is telling you the truth, does it do the person concerned or you good?
If you encourage people to gossip about others, they will also gossip about you soon. Be careful about the personal information that you allow the gossiper to have because he will betray your confidence, too. Proverbs 20:19 warns, “Don’t tell your secrets to a gossip unless you want them broadcast to the world” (The Living Bible). The Revised Standard Version puts it this way: “He who goes about gossiping reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who speaks foolishly.”
Remember that the effects of gossiping are divisive and destructive. Don’t use your tongue to destroy but build. Gossip is a waste of time. Use your time productively. “Your speech must always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:6 New American Standard Bible). Refrain from gossip.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for using my tongue to gossip in the past. Holy Spirit, help me to refrain from gossiping or spreading rumours about others, verbally or in writing. My speech shall always be with grace, seasoned with salt. I shall seek to build others and relationships, not destroy them in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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