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The Character of Gossip

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2021 12:00 am

The Character of Gossip

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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December 7, 2021 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley discusses how our speech is to be pleasing and acceptable to God.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, December 7th. Have you ever heard a story about someone that was just too surprising to keep to yourself? The Bible warns believers of giving in to the temptation to spread rumors. Here's a lesson on the character of gossip. God has given us a wonderful, wonderful privilege when He gave us a tongue, lips, when He gave us a voice to be able to talk, to be able to sing, and we can talk to our Heavenly Father, we can talk to each other, we can sing the Gospel, we can praise the Lord, we can teach others, we can motivate them, we can encourage them, we can comfort them, we can express genuine loving, compassion, and desire for them. We have the wonderful, wonderful privilege of being able to talk, yet sometimes we misuse that.

And when we misuse it, it can be absolutely brutal, it can be devastating, and it can be very, very destructive. The theme of this message is real simple. It's gossip.

Not the most popular subject, but probably one of the most popular activities. Now, we could all give our opinion on what gossip is about. What I want us to look at is to see what God thinks about it, because that's the only thing that really matters. And I want you to look at a couple of passages of Scripture because God has put gossip in a couple of categories here that are absolutely devastating. So I want us to turn first of all to Romans chapter one. I want you to notice where He places gossip in this probably the longest and most complete list of sins mentioned anywhere in the Bible in one particular location. Look at what He says, verse twenty-eight.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Now, I want you to see the broad view because there are several things here that are always interrelated with gossip.

Look at this now. He says, first of all, He says, deceit, gossip is deceitful. Malice, which is always a part of gossip. Slanderers is certainly a part of it. Arrogant, pride is a part of it.

I'll show you in a moment. Boastful, inventors of evil, they invent ideas and things to say about people. Without understanding, oftentimes they don't know what they're talking about. Untrustworthy, you can't trust a gossip. Unloving, they don't love. If they did, they wouldn't gossip. And unmerciful, they can be merciless in what they say.

Now, here's the issue. The issue is, as a believer, that doesn't fit who we are. Gossip doesn't fit who we are. Sharing the gospel, the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you remember what Paul said? He gives this long list, not altogether, but in his epistles. He talks about one another.

He says we are to love one another, build up one another, encourage one another, comfort one another, and on and on he goes, I think, about 12 or 15 of those one anothers, and they're all very positive actions that we are to perform toward one another. Gossip is a malicious, idle talk about someone else that oftentimes, not always, but most of the time probably, with an intent to hurt in some fashion, sometimes in a very destructive way, sometimes not so destructive, but it's still sinful any way you look at it. Gossip is one of those sins that we'd like to put up here on the side and say, well, everybody does it, therefore, you know what? It doesn't make any difference what you and I say about it. God says it's a sin and God hates it.

You say, well, now I can understand some of that, him not liking it. Well, let's just get down to the hate business and turn over to Proverbs chapter 6 for a moment. Proverbs chapter 6, and listen to what he says, because you see sometimes we're prone to sort of, we want to sort of lighten up things and color them a little bit so we won't feel quite so guilty. Listen to what he says in the sixth chapter of the Proverbs. He says, there are six things which the Lord hates. What are they? He says, yes, in fact, seven, which are an abomination to Him. Something that's an abomination to God is something that God absolutely hates, and He abhors it.

Listen to what he said. Number one, haughty eyes, a proud look. Number two, a lying tongue. Number three, hands that shed innocent blood. Number four, a heart that devises wicked plans. Number five, he says, feet that run rapidly to evil. Number six, he says, a false witness who utters lies. And number seven, one who spreads strife among brothers. Do you realize how many of those are related to gossip? Look at this, haughty eyes, pride has a part of it.

Secondly, a lying tongue. So often people gossip, and the longer they gossip, the further from the truth they get till they're absolutely lying about things. He says, a heart that devises wicked plans. There are people who gossip, they designed to gossip because they designed to hurt someone else in some fashion. Then he says, feet that run rapidly to evil. And sometimes when a person hears something that they think is juicy, what do they do?

Run to the telephone, get on the telephone and say, I've got to tell, I can't bear it any longer. I've got to tell you. And so what is it? Pure gossip. He says, a false witness who utters lies, certainly is a part of gossip. One who spreads strife among others.

When a person is gossiping, they are certainly spreading strife among others because it creates disunity. It divides children from their parents. It divides husbands from wives.

It divides employees from employers, fellow employees, churches, businesses, governments, you name it. God hates it because He knows it is a divisive, hurtful, destructive practice that doesn't fit a child of God because we're to be known by what Jesus said, by this all men shall know you're my disciples. He says, because you have loved one toward another and you can't gossip about someone and love them at the same time. That doesn't work.

That's like having poison and pure water coming out of the same stream and it does not work that way. God says He hates these things. Even if you know the truth to talk about someone in a way that brings hurt and pain to them no matter what the issue is, He says, listen, the idea that a person could be praying and talking to God and at the same time destroying someone else out of the same mouth, it doesn't work. God hates it. And because He hates it, it has absolutely no relationship to us.

It doesn't fit who we are, what we are trying to do in life or anything else. Now, why do people engage in gossip? Why do they engage in gossip?

Number one, pride. You have heard people say, well, I want to tell you something. And what they're saying, you can tell on their face they are so, they are so proud that they know something you don't know.

You see, that's what a lot of it is. It's just pure pride. They want to tell something that you don't know because it makes them feel better if they know something you don't know and they can tell you something. And you'll notice in these lists that pride and arrogance, God hates pride. And therefore, the heart that takes great delight in telling something, the heart that takes great delight in maligning someone else's character, the heart that takes great delight in injuring someone else because they can tell something about them, my friend, God hates it because He hates pride. He just said He hated an arrogant look. There's a second reason that people gossip and that is, it is a means by which they can express their anger or their bitterness and hostility towards someone without confronting them.

I want to say it again. It's a means by which they can express their anger or bitterness towards someone without confronting them personally. So they do it behind their back, which leads me to say it is a very, very cowardly act. A third reason people do it is to pull other people down to their level. There are people who live on a very low level of life.

They want to pull you down to where they are. They live in a garbage dump. They live with a poor self-image. They live with a critical spirit about themselves. They live with this sometimes self-hatred. They cannot deal with it so they've got to be pulling you down and criticizing you and getting you down there where they are. The problem is they never get out of it pulling you down. But for some reason, some people just feel a little better if they can pull you down to where they are. Now, sometimes it's for the purpose of destroying someone else.

That's the reason some people gossip. They want to destroy. They want to hurt. They want to cause pain.

It's their way of expressing something boiling on the inside of them. Now listen carefully. Listen and say amen. Here's what they'll do. Sometimes a person will gossip about someone with the intention of hurting them and destroying them because they either want the other person and can't have them. They would rather destroy them than see somebody else have them, number one. Or somebody else has possessions. They covet. They want the same thing.

And if they can't have it, they'd rather try to destroy the person so they can't enjoy it. I'm telling you, gossip is a wicked, vile sin in the eyes of God. It has tentacles. Listen, it has depth.

It has ferocious, ferocious tentacles that go out that touch all kinds of situations and circumstances. Gossip is an indication that somebody has got heart trouble and is a kind of heart trouble no medical physician can help. It takes the work of the Spirit of God to reveal to them the root cause of their gossip. What is it that's causing them to become such that people don't want to be around them anymore? It becomes such that everywhere they turn, there's criticism. They can find some reason to criticize, some reason to pull down, some reason to destroy. And projection is one of those things.

For example, watch this. When you hear something about someone or you see a circumstance or a situation, before you project on somebody else what you think they think, what you think they're doing, what you think they're acting, then you ask yourself the question, is this real? Is this what I'm thinking?

Is this what I'm thinking that I would do? And that is exactly how deceptive it can be. Yet oftentimes, people don't realize it. Well, what are the consequences? Let's look at the consequences in the person, life of the person who's gossiped about. Now, are you listening?

Say, amen. Listen to this. It's better to be gossiped about than to be the gossiper. It's better to walk through the fire than to start the fire in somebody else's life. It's better to walk through deep waters than to be the one who broke the dam and caused the pain. It's better to be the one who suffers the pain than to be the one who causes the pain.

You can mark that down. It may be painful, difficult, trying, hurtful, bring tears and weeping or whatever it might be. It's still better in the eyes of God to be the one who does the hurting than to be the one who is the herter. Better to be in the fire than the one who starts it, in the waters than the one who broke the dam. Better to be the one who feels the pain than the one who causes the pain. There are many consequences of a person who is gossiped about. What about the person who's doing it?

The first thing that happens is it reveals the nature of their heart. What did Jesus say? Look, if you will, in Matthew chapter 12, verse 33. He said, he'd been talking to the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He said, either make the tree good and its fruit good or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, now these were the religious leaders of Jesus' day, the Pharisees and Sadducees, how can you being evil speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Listen to that. Fills the heart so when somebody is really just pouring it on someone else and maligning them in some fashion or criticizing them and gossiping about them, you know what they're doing? They're revealing the evil within their own heart.

What is the consequence in the life of a person who does the gossiping? First of all, they reveal their own heart. It's very evident they reveal their own heart.

The second thing is this. They reveal their lack of discipline. They're incapable of hearing something without it controlling them. And there's some people can't keep anything ten minutes. And so they just got to get on the phone and call them. They got to talk to this one, got to talk to that one.

And so it's certainly an evidence of lack of discipline. A third thing is that they're ruled by sin. When you can't control your tongue, you're ruled by sin because the Bible says it's full of evil. Because if the heart's evil, the tongue is going to express that evil. If the heart's pure, you know what?

You hear things, let it go by. Because when the heart's pure and the mind is pure, everything about your life is going to be different. You're going to think more clearly. You're going to work more joyfully.

You're going to be able to make progress in ways and areas of your life that you had not before. A person who is a gossiper has a fragmented mind because they're in the process of thinking about what's going on in somebody else's life instead of their own life. And all of us have enough troubles of our own to be dealing with ourselves, let alone someone else's life. I'll tell you something else it does, it drives godly people away. When a person is a gossiper and you're not a gossiper, you don't want to be around them.

What it does, it drives them away. It certainly destroys a person's fellowship with God. Listen, you cannot have animosity, the intent to hurt, to cause division and strife. You cannot have the intent to cause someone else pain, hurt their character, their testimony, their witness, and at the same time have fellowship with God.

There's no way. There's no such thing as hostility toward a brother and intimacy with God out of the same heart. There's no such thing as genuine praise out of the same lips that have animosity, hostility, gossiping about someone else. Those things just don't come out of the same lips. They don't come out of the same heart. And a person cannot be in fellowship with God, cannot be walking in the Spirit. And the truth is a gossip when a person you analyze what's involved, what God says about that condition and it's in a person's heart, that person needs help desperately. A gossiper needs help. They need to come to the realization of what's going on inside of them. How do they get in this position? Why do they take delight in tearing somebody else's life down?

What is it in their life that gives them this sense of satisfaction or makes them feel like that they have the right and the privilege to judge and to condemn someone else when all of us have enough of our own issues in life to deal with? And so when you look in the scripture, there's no way to justify. Now, somebody says, OK, then how do I cure my gossip? There are two or three things.

Number one, it begins with repentance. God, I have been gossiping. I've been talking about so and so. This is not right. I admit that my heart's not right about that. I want to ask you to forgive me that I genuinely repent. I turn away from that. I don't want that in my heart anymore.

I want to put a seal upon my lips and guard it in my mouth. I don't want anything in my life that you hate God. And you said to separate yourself from gossipers.

God, I want to separate gossip from my life. It doesn't fit who I am. It's not who I am.

I don't want it in my life because I want to be a godly person. I don't want to be someone who is the cause of someone else having fire in their life and deep waters in their life. A genuine repentance is the first step. And I think a lot of people, once they come to that conclusion, sometimes, now listen carefully, not all the time, because sometimes trying to make restitution for something increases the whole problem. It may be that there's somebody you need to ask to forgive you for what you've said about them.

Maybe write them a letter, whatever you choose to do. Or it may be that you settle it with God and God says, let it die right there. Let it die right there. I have forgiven you. That's the end of it. It doesn't belong in your life anymore. That's the end of it. And so certainly repentance is a vital part of that in restitution. And then just what he said, don't associate with the gossips.

All it takes is one person to say, you know what? I don't think this is pleasing to God. I think we ought to get on our knees right now and pray to God for this person. There are lots of ways that dampen a party of gossips and God says don't associate with them. So I have responsibility to separate myself from them, repent of it, separate myself from them. And then I have responsibility to pray for that person.

It doesn't make any difference what the situation is. If that person is going through a hard time, a difficult time, if they've done something wrong, whatever it might be, I'm responsible to pray, encourage one another, pray for another, comfort one another, instruct one another, build up one another. All these one and others are all in the positive vein. And listen, out of these mouths of ours, we have the privilege of talking about Jesus and forgiveness and kindness and love and mercy and compassion and heaven and hope and faith and joy and peace and contentment and on and on and on. We could go with positive things, good things, helpful things that all listen fit who we are as the children of God. And it is my prayer that whatever's been going on in your life, you'll make a turnaround. That's what repentance is all about. Recognizing my error, recognizing my sinfulness and choosing to turn and walk in the other direction in obedience to Almighty God and love for Him and love for my brothers and my sisters, no matter who they may be, what they're going through, then you and I will fit the category. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, Jesus said. You have love one toward another. Thank you for listening to The Character of Gossip. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-12 22:38:48 / 2023-07-12 22:46:52 / 8

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