I started talking about gossip the other day and want to ask a question today about it.
The question is: Where does gossip originate? In a number of Scripture passages, the Lord informs us about the origins of gossip.
This might sound harsh but it is straight from Scripture. Gossip is fueled by hell’s flames. Gossip is one of Satan’s fiery arrows that he shoots at us and entices us to shoot at others. The Lord doesn’t mince words in James 3:6 when he tells us about the origin of the sins of the tongue: "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." The flames of hell ignite gossip. Satan is behind all gossip, either directly or indirectly. When we listen to gossip, we give the devil a foothold in our lives. When we speak gossip, we’re speaking as Satan wants us to speak. As the old saying goes, "A gossiper is the devil’s postman." We have such good reason to hold our tongue – but we do not do it!
In Luke 6:45 Jesus tells us, A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Jesus tells us that our words reveal what is in our hearts. Gossip comes from a heart full of evil. Insults come from a heart full of evil. Criticism comes from a heart full of evil. When we allow our sinful natures to control our hearts, evil fills our souls, and evil spews out of mouths. Think about it – you are a tool of Satan when you are gossiping! Every word that comes from your mouth need to be considered!
In Psalm 109:3 David said of his enemies, They surround me with hateful words and attack me without cause. When we allow hurt, anger, bitterness, and rage to live in our hearts, we entertain thoughts of hatred, retaliation, and revenge. One way that we vent our anger, bitterness, and rage is through gossip. We wound people behind their backs by badmouthing them. We retaliate by shooting people in the back with verbal bullets. Unless we find comfort for our hurt and resolution for our anger, we often vent our hurt and anger with our tongues. How many times has someone hurt you and then you turn around and say something mean or hateful about them in gossip? That needs to stop!
1 Tim 5:13 tells us how idleness can lead to gossip: At the same time, they also learn to be idle, going from house to house; they are not only idle, but are also gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t say. People with too much time on their hands often become gossips and busybodies. As the saying goes, "Idle hands are the devil’s workshop." If we would spend our time doing things to make a positive difference in the lives of others, we would we giving ourselves less time to be gossiping!
Gossip is always trouble. Gossip obscures the truth. Gossip drives us from God. Gossip ruins reputations. Gossip destroys relationships. Gossip divides churches. The trouble with gossip is that it is incredibly destructive. Do you really understand how destructive gossip is?
Have you ever seen first hand the power of gossip? What you say to a person who asks: If it is written in the newspaper and I tell someone else – is it gossip? I was asked that last night.