Shh! Dealing With The Sin of Gossip
I was trapped! Or was I?
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
I have a confession. I’ve struggled with the SIN of gossip. There, I said it. It was a gradual yet aggressive sickness that overtook my conversations. What began as meaningful discussions on faith and purpose, turned to venomous exchanges about people’s struggles and failures (as if I had neither)! The irony was, the more I was convicted, the more I committed this horrible sin. The more I attempted to avoid and overcome, the more topics invaded my circle of influence. I was trapped!
Or was I?
I realized I had to treat the sin of gossip like any other sin I would be prone to fall into: lying, adultery, stealing, lust, blasphemy, fornication, etc. I won’t debate the weight of these sins because I firmly believe that sin is sin. As I confronted this struggle, my first and most painful step was ownership. I had to acknowledge that this was a struggle for me. Unconfessed sin cannot be overcome, and sin that is justified will harden hearts. Excused sin will become a cancer within that context, and sin that is welcomed will bring accompanying sins with it. I had to take ownership of my struggle because only confessed sin is forgiven sin (1 John 1:9).
Here’s what I did next:
I set a new standard: I began to control the content of conversations. I stopped allowing people to bring unwholesome and unproductive conversations to me. If I discover a conversation is beginning to drift, and the Spirit convicts, I immediately shift the direction. The more I am intentional about my discussions about others, the more people take notice of what I will and will not discuss. James 4:11 reminds us clearly about this action: “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”
I speak against gossip: This is so difficult, because we don’t want to be labeled “holier than thou!” However, the only way that conversations will change is if we speak against gossip. We may not be able to win everyone over, but at least they’ll refrain from gossiping to you. That’s a great start! As I’ve made this transition, I discovered that my disposition is lighter. I am not as cynical and critical. In fact, there is a joy that resides in a “gossip-free” or “gossip-reduced” zone. I have the courage to tell anyone that I’m uncomfortable with this conversation, so let’s talk about something else.
I stop talking: When all else fails, close your mouth. Don’t text it, tweet it, post it, or Instagram it! Proverbs 11:13 states, “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.” Also, Proverbs 17:28 states, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” This has been my deliverance! I have chosen to participate in conversations, exchanges, posts, and writings that uplift rather than tear down. This doesn’t make me better … just different.
Gossip destroys unity. It keeps bad company (Romans 1:29-31). It causes us to participate in sin and remain in sinful environments. God desires more from us. It’s time to be convicted, repentant, and ultimately, delivered from the sin of gossip…Shh!
Used with permission by Global Media Outreach from Pastor Stephen G. Brown. You can read Pastor Brown’s original blog post here.
Pray this week:
Lord, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Amen. (Psalm 19:14)
In what situations are you most tempted to gossip?