In one of the most eye-opening episodes of this series, David tackles two of the most destructive things a believer can ever choose to do with their mouths. Gossip and slander destroy relationships, undermine trust, and destroy the unity of the Spirit that God desires us to have in the church. When we choose to gossip and slander, we are using our mouths to do the work of the enemy. Let this episode open your eyes, change your heart and cause you to speak in a way that honours God by honouring every human being that He has created.
1. What most impacted you about Episode 4?
2. Why do you think God takes gossip and slander so seriously?
3. Have you ever been slandered? How did it feel and how did you react? How will you handle slander differently in the future?
4. What are some ways that we can avoid getting involved with gossip?
Action Point: Say sorry to God for the times you have practised gossip or slander, and then start to prepare yourself for those moments when you are going to find yourself in a conversation that turns into gossip. Will you change the subject, walk away, or challenge the person who is speaking too casually or negatively about another person? Think of ways you can do this without being unkind to the people who are engaging in these sins.
hey guys and welcome back to this series on the power of words we’re now in episode four and this could be one of the most important episodes in this whole series because i’m going to be talking about two of the most serious most destructive things that we can ever do with our mouths this is happening all over the world it’s happening in the body of christ today it deeply grieves the heart of god and of course i’m talking about gossip and slander so first of all let’s look at what these sins actually are and then we’ll talk about why they’re so serious so here’s a definition of gossip gossip is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true and here’s a definition of slander slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation now gossip and slander are so common among believers today but actually that is not something new because when the apostle paul wrote to the corinthian church he told them that he was afraid of what he might find if he visited them and let’s just stop a minute because when the apostle paul says that he’s afraid of something we’d better listen very carefully this was not a man who was known for being afraid of many things at all this is the same guy who in acts chapter 21 everybody was encouraging him not to go up to jerusalem because they were seriously worried about his safety and look at how he answered acts 21 13 then paul answered why are you weeping and breaking my heart i’m ready not only to be bound but also to die in jerusalem for the name of the lord jesus so if this guy isn’t afraid of being thrown in prison and he isn’t afraid of death what is he afraid of second corinthians 12 20 says this for 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 discord jealousy fits of rage selfish ambition slander gossip arrogance and disorder and of course paul is saying that i might not find you how i want you to be because i don’t want to find these things among you and then he says and you might not find me as you want me to be what’s he talking about well the corinthian church do not want paul to come to them angry rebuking them and correcting them but if that’s what he finds if he finds gossip and slander and all of these other things he has no choice but to rebuke and correct them because god hates gossip and slander and paul knows that these things will destroy the people and will destroy the church and if we think paul was concerned about gossip and slander look at what king david said in psalm 101 verse 5 he said whoever slanders his neighbor secretly i will destroy now in the last episode we looked at how david was a man after god’s own heart and we now know that david absolutely hated slander so at the beginning of this episode i want to ask you a question how much do you hate gossip and slander is this something that you’re willing to entertain in your life and in the lives of those around you or is this something that you are actively working to stop doing do you realize that the bible lists slander alongside idolatry sexual immorality stealing greed drunkenness and adultery and says that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of god and then it course it goes on to say such were some of you so before you came to christ you might have been a slanderer but now you’re a believer now you’ve been transformed by jesus christ there is no place in your life anymore for slander i just want to remind you what slander is again slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation and in proverbs 10 verse 18 it says whoever utters slander is a fool
why are they a fool well i believe one of the reasons is because the person who slanders another who says something that is damaging to another’s reputation hasn’t understood the blessings that they lose when they slander another person look at this in psalm 15 it’s a short chapter so we’re going to read all of it it’s just five verses and it starts like this lord who may dwell in your sacred tent now when you’re invited to dwell in someone’s tent you enjoy their fellowship and their hospitality you eat and you drink from their provision and while you do it you enjoy their protection so what it’s saying is lord who may enjoy your presence your provision and your protection and then it says who may live on your holy mountain it’s saying what kind of person will be able to come close to you to live a life of intimacy with you and then it goes on and it says the one whose walk is blameless who does what is righteous who speaks the truth from their heart whose tongue utters no slander who does no wrong to a neighbor and casts no slur on others who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the lord who keeps an oath even when it hurts and does not change their mind did you see that it said somebody who when they say they’re gonna do something they do it who lends money to the poor without interest who does not accept a bribe against the innocent and then it says this whoever does these things will never be shaken and of course we know that we can’t do everything perfectly that’s why jesus died on the cross so that we could receive forgiveness but we are reading here what is important to god the kind of people that god wants to have intimacy with are people who don’t slander others that’s probably why when paul wrote to titus and told him to remind the people of some things he said remind them titus 3 verse 2 to slander no one to be peaceable and considerate and always to be gentle toward everyone now you might be thinking but david what about when other people slander me and say negative things that will damage my reputation well in episode six we’re going to talk specifically about what to do if somebody slanders you if somebody spreads false information about you that has the potential to harm your reputation but in this episode now we’re just going to move on to gossip so let’s just look one more time at that definition of gossip casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true now i just want you to notice that it said typically involving details that are not confirmed as true it did not say always involving details that are not confirmed as true because some people think that if what they’re saying is true then it cannot be gossip and i just want to say that what you’re saying can be perfectly true but it can still be gossip whether or not it’s gossip depends on a few different things that we’re going to look at in the next episode but for now let me just say this if the person that you’re speaking about is not in the room and you wouldn’t want them to hear what you’re saying or how you’re saying it it’s probably gossip and what i’ve observed is that gossip is ruining many people’s lives and actually stealing the fruit that they could be bearing for god’s kingdom and they don’t even realize it now why do i say that gossip is causing so much destruction well one of the most precious and most important things we have in this life i’m sure you’ll agree with me is our relationships with others and gossip destroys relationships and the reason for this is that relationships are based on trust and gossip betrays trust you see when you share information that somebody else has shared with you in confidence you are betraying their trust betrayal of trust is one of the most painful things that can happen to us in this life and often if somebody betrays our trust we will back off from that person and sadly many of you know exactly what i’m talking about because your trust in another person has been broken and you know that that relationship is no longer what it used to be now think about this when a friend of yours has a good relationship with someone else and you share information with that friend that might make them see that other person differently you are actually sewing seeds of distrust which can lead to the breakdown of that relationship and it’s amazing how destructive just a few casually spoken words can be and that’s probably why proverbs 16 28 says this a perverse person stirs up conflict and a gossip separates close friends when we engage in this kind of conversation that separates friends what we are doing is we are literally operating in opposition to god’s spirit and doing the exact opposite of what true love does now i’m going to explain that in the next episode of how true love operates and how someone with true love in their hearts speaks because we’re going to be looking at how we can use our words wisely and how we can live in the way of love in that area but let me just say this gossip divides people and god hates division and what’s really sad is that when a person gets involved in gossip or if they don’t know how to handle gossip in the right way actually they are unable to walk in the blessing that god bestows on those who walk in true unity and in psalm 133 it says how pleasant sorry how good and pleasant it is when god’s people live together in unity and then it goes on to say for there the lord bestows his blessing even life forevermore so there’s a special blessing that god gives when true unity is happening among god’s people but of course if you allow gossip into your life instead of the peace and the enjoyment that that rich blessing brings you actually find that your life is full of drama full of disagreements full of conflict full of pain and offense proverbs 18 verses 6 to 7 says the lips of falls bring them strife that’s disagreements and conflict and their mouths invite a beating the mouths of fools are their undoing and their lips are a snare to their very lives do you realize what it’s saying it’s saying that actually we can set traps for ourselves by the way that we speak and what of the ways that we do that is through gossip unconstrained casual conversation about other people and if you live like that sadly what happens is that you end up with all kinds of problems in your life and probably a long string of broken relationships and of course with broken relationships comes a lot of grief and pain but look at this proverbs 26 verses 20 to 22 it says without wood a fire goes out without a gossip a quarrel dies down as charcoal to embers and as wood to fire so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife the words of a gossip are like choice morsels they go down to the in most parts now a choice morsel is is a delicacy that you eat and it’s saying that just as you feel that small piece of food going down into your stomach so the words of a gossip go deep into our hearts and of course once we’ve received gossip it’s very difficult not to repeat it and like i said we’re going to look at that in the next episode but before we get to that if gossip brings so much damage into our lives and relationships we really need to be asking god to show us who are the gossips in my life now this is difficult because it may be somebody that you love or it may be you proverbs 20 verse 19 says this a gossip betrays a confidence so avoid anyone who talks too much and i just want to say to you as we come to the end of this episode don’t be that person that betrays other people’s confidence be a trustworthy person be a person who others can put their confidence in that they can share something with you and they know that that is not going to reach anybody else and be careful who you spend lots of time with it’s so important that we continually forgive the gossips in our lives and that we refuse to engage in gossips as in gossip ourselves but there are times where we need to put boundaries in place and say i’m not going to spend as much time with that person as i used to because i can see that their gossip is infiltrating my heart it’s putting poison in my heart and obviously we need to learn how to deal with that poison but sometimes it’s helpful to separate ourselves a little bit from those people for a season until we’ve learned how not to be poisoned by the words of others and i just want to say this this is something that god’s really put on my heart for this episode if you don’t want other people to gossip about you and slander you remember this that we reap what we sow galatians 6 7 says do not be deceived god cannot be mocked a man reaps what he sows and i really believe that the best way that we can stop other people gossiping about us and slandering us there are times when other people slandering us is okay we’re going to talk about that in episode six but the best way that we can stop reaping this is if we stop sowing it so why don’t we just say sorry to god now and ask him to help us read our lives of the poison that is gossip and slander so father we just want to thank you for your word right now we want to thank you for the way that your word warns us about the traps that we can set for ourselves in this life and father we just want to say that we are so sorry for the times that we have spoken in a casual and unconstrained way about other people and we are so sorry for the times where we’ve made we’ve made false statements that are damaging to other people’s reputation father we thank you that you sent your son jesus on the cross to die for our sins that we might be forgiven for using our mouths in an unwise way now lord we also choose to forgive those who have gossiped and slandered about us lord recognizing that we are also guilty of these sins and father would you help us to rid our lives of this poison in jesus name amen and in the next episode we’re going to look practically about how we can handle gossip and how we can make sure that we don’t engage with it but that we can speak words that are wise words so i’ll see you in episode five.