Tag Archives: Gossip

Mind Your Own Business

He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. –Proverbs 26:17, KJV

Gossiping is pretty bad. We all agree. It causes more harm than helps, which is frequently the intent of the gossiper, though often times it is merely ill-advised but done by those who like drama.

What is just as bad is the person who listens in on conversations and then tries to take over the conversation.

It is true that sometimes a stranger can offer a bit of insight or resolution to a disagreement, but this verse is not about these nice people who politely admit to overhearing and offer help.

No, Proverbs 26:17 is about the person who hears just a little tidbit of a conversation (or argument) and assumes they are the authority. They know all about this issue, and you would not only be wise to listen but they will make sure you do!

And the majority of the time, this person has taken that tidbit completely out of context.

Now matters are worse, and either the people involved are stirred up to more hatred toward each other or this poor fool may feel the wrath of those who just a moment ago were upset with each other.

Moral of the story: mind your own business.

Unless there is a legitimate concern for one or all people involved – like a fist fight about to break out, or they are causing a major disturbance … like in a restaurant … – they can work it out themselves or will find someone to help.

Or you are a masochist who likes being verbally and physically beat up. But then you have even more issues than we are discussing today.

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When to Answer the Fool

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. -Proverbs 26:5, KJV

This is a fairly easy verse to understand: tell someone when they are doing something wrong, otherwise they may think they have it all figured out and are doing nothing wrong.

I could stop there, but perhaps some examples could help.

Children need to be told what is right and wrong, or they grow up thinking everything they do is okay and even good, if they survive! (My parents told me not to run I to the street, for example.)

A gossip will continue spreading lies and mistruths unless they are confronted and corrected.

Most importantly, people are on their way to Hell, thinking they are okay or even right in their beliefs, unless the Gospel is shared with them.

There are times to know when to stop and “shake the dust off your feet,” as mentioned in the previous verse or by Jesus Himself (Matthew 10, Luke 9, Mark 6). That is for another post!


Too Excited or a Babbler?

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.Proverbs 20:19 NIV

Innocent Excitement

Growing up we knew not to tell my sister exciting news that needed to be kept secret (like presents for people). Likewise, my wife hates secrets and surprises, because she wants to tell others. They just love seeing people get excited.

The verse today is not about people like them, who innocently want to bring people joy. (But if you want to surprise someone, you might have to surprise people like my sister and wife, as well!)

Babblers

Other translations use the word “babbler” instead of “anyone who talks too much.”

These are the people who simply have no filter, feel the need to incessantly talk, or, worse, like causing trouble or even harm.

It tends to be easy to find them. They may be the only person you told something to, like the coworker you told you might be getting a raise, and now everyone knows (and may be jealous). It could be at church, when someone reveals “dirt” or offers a “prayer request” that takes five minutes to explain the nitty-gritty details.

As for you, simply be someone that can be trusted. Be the crying shoulder and listening ear, the confidante that others rely on.

Which type of person are you?

Do you get too excited sometimes?

Do you blab and undermine?

Or do you know how to hold your tongue and maintain confidence and trust?


This Is Wisdom (Use Discretion)

My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
Proverbs 3:21‭-‬23

Stumbling and Falling

The late second decade of this millennium has been tumultuous. Businesses are shuttering doors every week. Politicians are stepping down in disgrace. Actors are having careers crumble over night. Even pastors and ministry leaders are losing positions and status in shame.

Movements are continuously rising to combat [real or percieved] injustices. Tensions run high between governments, businesses, institutions, the press, and societies to the point that no one is safe from saying anything without trouble brewing.

Why?

As a whole, we have not kept wisdom, and discretion has long since been discarded.

Sure, some people think they are being discreet, but without sound wisdom. Now, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3)

And this is what we see today.

A society that lacks wisdom and discretion – that lacks common sense but says and does whatever seems right (or right to them) – is a society of increasing chaos and depravity.

What then shall we do?

Especially as Christians, we should turn to God, live wisely, and use discretion. We do not need to voice our opinion about everything. At least not right away. A friend of mine has a 72-hour rule for major events: wait 72 hours before commenting to make sure more facts are available.

We would be wise to use a similar tactic in relationships – especially on social media!

We would be wise to do this with the news – that too often is merely sensationalism gossip, anymore.

We would be wise to set parameters for ourselves and our relationships.

Perhaps we can at least try to “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5, NIV)

This is necessarily hard, because it is hard getting over ourselves. We do not like confronting our sinful nature.

But that is wisdom.


Influencing or Infecting?

Proverbs 29:12.

“If a ruler hearkens to lies, all his servants are wicked.” (KJV).

The Influencing Leader:

A leader is defined as a person who rules, guides or inspires others. There are many different kinds of leaders in the world today: Parents lead families, coaches lead teams, teachers lead students, pastors lead churches, and government officials lead cities and nations. There are also people who don’t necessarily have a leadership position, but simply lead others by guiding or inspiring them.

We need leaders! Leaders help us to do what we need to do, and get where we need to go. I’m reading a book right now by John Macarthur where he says that “A true leader inspires followers. To put it simply, leadership is influence. The ideal leader is someone whose life and character motivate people to follow.” (The Book on Leadership). The world needs more good leaders today.

The Listening Leader:

The question a leader must ask is – who or what are you listening to? In today’s Proverb, Solomon warns the leader about not listening to lies or gossip. Once a leader starts down that slippery slope, their positive influence is greatly impacted. It’s so important for a leader to choose wisely those who are your closest advisors and friends, because they will either help you to become a better leader… or a worse one.

As a pastor, I have two different leadership teams that help me to do what I do. Our elders are those who help me to care for the people in our church, praying together and seeking God’s wisdom for our church family. Our church council are those who help me to make decisions regarding the finances and property of the church. With both groups of people, I look for people who are wise and spiritually mature, but also those who know the value and importance of unity.

In Psalm 133, King David wrote: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head… For there the Lord commanded the blessing– Life forevermore.” If we want God’s blessing, we need to walk in unity. That means there can be no tolerance for lies, gossip or slander.

The Infecting Leader:

There’s an expression that says, “As goes the leader, so go the people.” If a leader allows himself to be corrupted by evil speech, the end result is that his people will be infected by it. The Message Bible paraphrase of today’s Scripture says: “When a leader listens to malicious gossip, all the workers get infected with evil.” A pastor’s actions affect his church. A parent’s actions affect their children. And a government leader’s actions affect an entire city… or nation.

So hear the challenge to all leaders: Be a good influencer, and don’t allow yourself to be influenced by evil words. Refuse to listen to lies or gossip, and fight for unity. Amen!


The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Proverbs 26:24-26

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for [there are] seven abominations in his heart. [Whose] hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the [whole] congregation.” 

The Big Shots

Yesterday, David looked at verse 23 dealing with those who cover up their wickedness to look good. These verses come out of that.

He mentioned the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Today we tend to think about politicians or corporate bigwigs that put up a front to look good for their employees or their constituents. In truth, they are only out for their own gain.

The really bad ones are those who will stop at nothing, hurt anyone to get what they want or to be entertained.

The Church Enemy

The scariest ones are those in the Church.

Who are they? They are the church-goers who:

  • Gossip (sometimes through “prayer requests”)
  • Complain about everything at the church
  • Complain about everything in life
  • Live two separate lives: one at church and one everywhere else
  • Purposefully disobey the pastor or church teachings
  • Cause divisions (start fights, spread malicious rumors, etc.)
  • Give the minimum effort (and usually have excuses)
  • Never give any effort at church (and always have excuses, if they talk about it)
  • Those who justify every action they take (usually with “But you have to understand …”)
  • Who start debates with “I am a Christian, so …” and then attempt to defend non-Christian behaviors and actions.

I could go on for a very long time. They act like they love others, but they really hate.

The question is …

Did you see yourself in that list?

The scariest enemy is the one who acts like your friend. Read Galatians 5:19-21 for Paul’s list of who they are.

Heavenly Father, help us to remove all the falseness and pretense from our lives. Create in us a clean heart free of all malice, deceit, and wickedness. Help us to be followers of You and not the father of lies.


Fiery Strife

Proverbs 26:20-21.

 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”(KJV).

The Most Important Things: Love and Unity

In John 13:35, Jesus made it abundantly clear what one of the most important aspects of discipleship is love: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In other words, walking in love is one of the surest signs that we are true Christians. A few chapters later in this same book of the Bible, John records for us the high priestly prayer of Jesus that He prayed right before going to the Cross:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21). Wow! That’s one of the most sobering thoughts in the entire Bible. Here Jesus essentially says, “If Christians could become one in love and unity towards one another, the whole world would be saved.” That tells me that love and unity are the most important things we can learn as believers!

The Most Dangerous Things: Strife and Gossip

If the two most important things for us to learn to do as followers of Jesus is to walk in love and unity, then guess what the enemy is going to try to get us to do? To keep us from walking in love and unity! We shouldn’t be surprised then when we find the enemy coming and sowing seeds of strife and gossip… even (nay, especially) in the church.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon says, “Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops. A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.” (NLT). In other words, people who gossip and stir up strife are firestarters. In the same way that a fire can destroy anything from a house to an entire forest, so too a little gossip and strife can destroy relationships and unity.

So how do we guard against stripe and gossip? Fire needs fuel to burn, and so too strife needs the fuel of gossip to keep raging. Therefore, if we want to stop strife, we need to stop gossip. If we want to see the church of Jesus Christ prevail in the world, then we must contend for love and unity. We must refuse to gossip or talk negatively about another believer, and we must also refuse to listen to gossip about another Christian. And remember this truth: If someone will gossip to you, then they will likely gossip about you as well.

T.H.I.N.K.

T.H.I.N.K. before you speak: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If not, then remember the wisdom from Thumper’s mother from the Bambi movie: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Church – let’s let love, acceptance and forgiveness become our banner! As we do this, we will show the world that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen…

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