The Cure For Gossip

Roger A. Rush

Henry Van Dyke advised, “Never believe anything bad about anybody unless you positively know it to be true; never tell even that unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary – and remember that God is listening while you tell it.” Gossip is an insidious tool of the devil. Much harm and no good comes from gossiping. A gossip is one who “makes a mountain out of a molehill by adding some dirt.”

Moses warned Israel, “You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:16-18).

Solomon, thought to be the author of most of Proverbs, made an astute and inspired observation when he wrote: “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body. Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross. He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; when he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin” (Proverbs 26:20-28).

Gossip has always been an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. It is contrary to the very essence of Christianity. Christians are specifically warned not to be busybodies in other people's matters (1 Peter 4:15). Gossip is a sin particularly prevalent among the idle. The cure for gossip is as simple as finding something worthwhile to do and doing it with all our might. This is the advice given to those in the church at Thessalonica who were refusing to work, while spending their time as busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:11, 12). In a similar vein, Paul warned of young widows who would cast off their first faith. They were said to be “idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not” (1 Timothy 5:13).

Idleness and gossip go hand in hand. The old cliché is correct: Idleness is the devil's workshop. The cure for gossip is hard work, and lots of it. There's no time for gossip when hearts and hands are engaged in worthwhile endeavors. -534 Sixth St., Marietta, OH 45750.

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