Comes Back Around

Proverbs 26:18
They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of
many evils (v.25).

As a youth pastor’s wife, I have plenty of
opportunities to practice conflict resolution skills
with those in our ministry. Especially in working
with the girls. Gossip, however, is not limited to the
female gender or to young adults (as my husband and I
discovered at a dinner party a few weeks back). Recently,
though, I had an opportunity to work through a situation
with two high school girls, and in doing so we all saw the
vivid imprint of the enemy’s work in stirring up strife. One
unproven statement of hearsay had created weeks of hurt
feelings and strained relationships.

Gossip is never productive. Not when couched as
being in jest (Proverbs 26:19), nor when masked as a
prayer request (vv.23-25). Not even when we believe
we’re spreading truth. Whatever the reasons—a
vindictive spirit, an insecure heart, or a loose tongue—
gossip has no place in the life of a believer.

Destructive to far more than just the person being
discussed, gossip has a way of infiltrating the deep inner
places of our lives. Proverbs 26:22 says, “Rumors are
dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.” To the one
speaking and listening, gossip becomes an addictive tool
to gain influence with others, and in the hearts of both, its
roots settle and shape not only our opinions of others but
our ability to trust.

Like a boulder rolling backwards (v.27), the consequences
of gossip are far-reaching as it destroys: trustworthiness (11:13), relationships
(16:27-28), character (17:4), reputations (25:10).

Conflict is a given even in the body of Christ. But Scripture clearly delineates
how to go about finding resolution (Matthew 5:23; 1 Timothy 1:19). While
gossip may bring momentary relief or enjoyment, the mature believer understands
that the long-term consequences are disastrous.

—Regina Franklin

Read 2 Corinthians 2:20 to see what other destructive behaviors
often accompany gossip.

How does our perception of the sin of gossip compare with God’s
perspective? How do you respond when someone you’re talking to begins
to gossip?

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