Recently I’ve been reminded of the horrible effects of gossip and slander among Christians.
As a pastor I have seen its horrible fruit in churches. Someone said “good news travels fast,but bad news travels faster.” In this day of social media there is the temptation to use these technologies to spread it. The challenge for the believer is to use the internet as a way to spread the gospel. Today that can be done in just seconds from your smartphone. The bible describes the spreading of bad news as gossip, slander or talebearing.
Our culture is awash in slander with the “scandal tabloids” you can purchase as you leave the grocery or TV shows and internet sites that spread their salacious tales.Some people make it their practice to listen to and for the latest bad news about someone else. They love hearing all the juiciest stuff about people. But they are always appalled when they discover stuff is being spread about them.
When there is sin, offense, conflict or disagreement between believers, Jesus Himself tells us how to handle it.
“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” – Matt. 18:15-17
When a sin is committed between believers, He outlined the process to deal with it. In the same way at work, school or home we must only go to the person we have the issue with and be silent to others about it. It’s interesting that the rest of Matthew 18 is about unforgiveness. Jesus called gossip an EVIL thing in Mark 7:20.
The bible describes how wicked it is to tell tales! Talebearing is an archaic term rarely heard today but describes a gossip or slanderer.
“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips. Whoever curses his father or his mother,His lamp will be put out in deep darkness.” – Proverbs 20:19-20
Gossip is talking or complaining about someone or something without actually talking to or going to the person who can fix the problem.
Slander is the name given by God to the spreading of this talk to others. By the way, Satan’s name literally means “slanderer”. He is referred to by Jesus as the “father of lies” So when you slander, you actually become an agent of the enemy! As Christians we cannot tolerate this evil practice.
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8
(To be continued)