Thursday, January 04, 2007

Of Gossip and Murder

Gossip. Recently when "comparing" sin with another man I was told that Gossip was no where near as severe as some other sins. So I thought about that and decided to see what the Word of God has to say about Gossip.

I will quote from the NIV because it uses the word "Gossip".

Proverbs indicates that Gossip reveals a lack of trustworthiness, and that the gossip it's self goes to the core of a man. Prov 11:13, 18:8, 26:22

Romans has the following to say;

Rom 1:28-32
"28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

That seems pretty clear doesn't it? Then Paul puts Gossip in his list of rebukes against the church at Corinth in II Cor 12:19-21

"19Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged."

In 1 Timothy 5:13-14 Paul is instructing Timothy how to deal with younger widows. Part of this is a warning of their "giving the enemy an opportunity for slander" in respect to their gossip.

"13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander."

The Apostle John uses the gossip of a man to reveal the evil in him in 1 John 1:9-11.

"9I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. 10So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

11Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God."

This is all well and good, it's clear to anyone that Gossip is very hurtful, and it's clear from the above texts that it's evil. But how does Gossip compare to "other sins"?

Well I submit for your consideration that a Christian knowing that Gossip "goes down to a mans innermost parts" is not committing an act of love, but is in fact committing an act of hate. When a Brother gossips about a Brother he surely is not loving that man. Jesus gave us a clear command to "love each other". So, if you look at the truly hurtful and evil act of Gossip as not an act of love but in fact an act of hate the following is the nail in the coffin for the idea that Gossip isn't as bad as "other sins".

Matt 5:21-22
" 21"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,[c]' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

Raca is a term of contempt and the Sandedrin is the Jewish council.

Here we see Our Lord Jesus Christ tell us that being angry with our Brother (in Christ) is the same as Murder.

Now is Gossip not as bad as those "other sins"? I ask you to consider it yourself.

After a moment I suggest we all view and submit to the teaching in Matt 18:15-35.

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